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 Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation)

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-AS-4 Kitchen ( Kh-22 Raduga ) :

le Kh-22 Raduga est un missile air-sol antinavire de fabrication russe; il equipe les
Bombardiers supersonique Tupolev Tu-22.

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile air-sol
Mise en service : 1962
Portée : 400km
Charge militaire : 900kg ou nucleaire
Vitesse : Mach 4
Poid : 5800kg
Operateurs : Russie
Engagements : aucun

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Radugakh22

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh22mtu22m31s Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 W768




-AS-9 Kyle (Kh-28) :

Le Kh-28 est un missile antiradar russe entré en service en 1973,il equipe les bombardier tel que le SU-22; SU-24;TU-16 ...


Origine : Russie
Type : Missile antiradar
Mise en service : 1973
Portée : 110km
charge militaire : 150kg
Vitesse : Mach 3
Poid : 720kg
Operateurs : Russie; Irak; ?
Engagements : ?

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 5oxk7kxucy Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 W710

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh28kylefitter1s Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 W768




-AS-10 Karen (Kh-25) :

Le Kh-25 est un missile sol-air russe devellopé dans les années 70.

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile air sol
Mise en service : 1973
Portée : de 10 à 40km (selon versions)
charge militaire : 100kg
Vitesse : Mach 2;5
Poid : de 300 à 400kg (selon versions)
Operateurs : Russie
Engagements : ?

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh25ml





-AS-11 Kilter (Kh-58) :

Le Kh-58 est un missile antiradar russe mis en service dans les année 80.
il equipe les SU-24; SU-22; Su-25; Su-30; et Mig-31

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile antiradar
Mise en service : 1982
Portée : 160km
charge militaire : 150kg
Vitesse : Mach 3,6
Poid : 650kg
Operateurs : Russie; Inde; Malaisie; Perou
Engagements : Tombé accidentellement en georgie(2007)

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 As11kilterkh581





-AS-13 Kingbolt (Kh-59) :


Le Kh-59 est un missile air-sol russe a guidage TV.

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile air-sol à guidage tv
Mise en service : 1991
Portée : 115 km
charge militaire : 320kg
Vitesse : Mach 1
Poid : 930kg
Operateurs : Russie; Inde; Venezuela; Malaisie
Engagements : ?

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh59mk2

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Su24kh59mk






-AS-14 Kedge (Kh-29) :

Le Kh-29 est un missile air-sol russe a guidage laser ou Tv devellopé dans les années 70 est entré en service dans les année 80.

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile air-sol à guidage laser ou tv
Mise en service : 1980
Portée : 10 km
charge militaire : 317kg
Vitesse : Mach
Poid : 660kg
Operateurs : Russie; Inde; Perou; Chine; Vennezuela ...
Engagements : ?

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh29lkedge2s

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Kh29kedgesu30mklaunch1s






-AS-17 Krypton(KH-31) :

le Kh-31 est un missile air-sol russe de longue portée entré en service dans les année 90.

Origine : Russie
Type : Missile airsol antinavire et antiradar
Mise en service : 1988
Portée : 70km
charge militaire : 90kg
Vitesse : Mach 2,9
Poid : 600kg
Operateurs : Russie; Inde; Chine; Malaisie;
Engagements : ?

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interessant ce JAGM

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Citation :
Trois fois plus de portée pour la JDAM ER


Publié le 25/02/2015 à 12h30, par Antony Angrand

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 6101
La bombe JDAM ER avec ses ailes déployées, qui lui permettent de tripler sa portée. © Boeing  


La JDAM ER, pour Extended range ou portée augmentée, a fait l'objet d'un tir d'essais depuis un F/A-18 Hornet australien de la RAAF. Le kit ER permet de tripler la portée de la bombe, qui passe ainsi de 24 à 72 km, grâce à l'ajout d'ailes. Il permet également de transformer une munition de type GBU-39 SDB (bombe de petit diamètre) en une arme dotée d'un guidage de précision. Ce kit comporte un capteur laser, un équipement anti-brouillage GPS et un capteur radar tous temps.


Les essais ont été effectués au-dessus du polygne de tir de Woomera, au cours desquels plusieurs JDAM de 225 kg ont été largués à des altitudes variant de 10 000 (3 000 m) à 40 000 pieds (12 190 m). Au cours de ces tirs, les ailes des JDAM ER se sont correctement déployées, ce qui a permis ensuite aux munitions de toucher des objectifs prédéterminés, avec une précision de l'ordre de quelques mètres.

http://www.air-cosmos.com/2015/02/25/29155-trois-fois-plus-de-portee-pour-la-jdam-er
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Citation :
La bombe guidée SDB II de Raytheon va entrer en production


Publié le 22/05/2015 à 10h59, par Duncan Macrae

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 150
Le F-15E pourra emporter jusqu'à 28 SDB II. © Raytheon



Suite à une ultime revue de configuration fonctionnelle et d’aptitude à la production, dite « Milestone C », la munition air-sol guidée légère SDB II (Small Diameter Bomb) de Raytheon va pouvoir entrer en production.

Raytheon a été retenu en 2010 face à une équipe Boeing-Lockheed Martin pour lancer le développement de cette bombe guidée pour assurer l'engagement de cibles terrestres et littorales, fixes ou mobiles, par tout temps et à une distance de sécurité supérieure à 70 km. A l’époque, la mise en service opérationnel sur les F-15E de l'US Air Force était prévue à l’horizon 2017.

Au cœur de la SDB II, un autodirecteur trimode capable d'assurer le guidage de la munition quelles que soient les conditions météorologiques. Celui-ci combine trois voies : un capteur semi-actif laser (SAL) ; un radar millimétrique ; et un capteur à imagerie infrarouge non refroidi.

Ces trois modes sont associés à un capteur GPS résistant au brouillage et une centrale inertielle - les deux seuls modes de guidage dont était équipée la SDB I. La SDB II est également équipée d'une liaison de données bidirectionnelle.

Cette annonce fait suite à des tirs d’essai depuis un F-15E effectués contre des cibles mobiles au mois de février dernier. L’intégration de la SDB II est en cours sur le F-35, F/A-18E/F et F-16.

http://www.air-cosmos.com/2015/05/22/35514-la-bombe-guidee-sdb-ii-de-raytheon-va-entrer-en-production
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Citation :
Lockheed Martin’s JAGM Goes Two for Two in Latest Flight Tests

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Mfc-jagm-photo-04-h1

ORLANDO, Fla., July 13, 2015 – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) demonstrated its multi-mode Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), engaging two laser-designated stationary targets during recent Government-led flight tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

In the first test, the missile flew four kilometers, engaged its precision-strike, semi-active laser and hit the stationary target. During the second flight, the missile flew four kilometers, acquired the target using its precision strike, semi-active laser while simultaneously tracking the target with its millimeter wave radar, and hit the stationary target.

“These flight tests demonstrate the maturity of Lockheed Martin’s JAGM design and prove our risk-mitigation success and readiness for production,” said Frank St. John, vice president of Tactical Missiles and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our innovative, affordable JAGM solution will provide operational flexibility and combat effectiveness, keeping the warfighter ahead of the threat.”

The risk-reduction flight tests are critical to Lockheed Martin’s performance on the U.S. Army’s Continued Technology Development program in providing warfighters with enhanced accuracy and increased survivability against stationary and moving targets in all weather conditions.

Lockheed Martin recently submitted its JAGM Engineering and Manufacturing Development and Low-Rate Initial Production proposal to the U.S. Army. Contract award is expected later this year.

Lockheed Martin’s JAGM will be manufactured on existing production lines. The modularity and open architecture of the company’s JAGM design readily support a low-risk path to a tri-mode seeker, should the Army’s Incremental Acquisition Strategy require it in the future.

For additional information, visit our website: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/JAGM.html.

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Citation :
Kongsberg's Joint Strike Missile (JSM) Successfully Completed Flight Test from F-16 Aircraft

The Joint Strike Missile (JSM, the air launched variant of the NSM - Naval Strike Missile) successfully completed a missile flight test in the United States last week. The missile was launched at 22,000 ft from an Edwards Air Force-based F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range and performed a number of challenging flight maneuvers. The test proved the maturity of the missile, which is specifically designed to fit inside the F-35A weapons bay, and the missile flight control software.

The Joint Strike Missile (JSM) successfully completed a missile flight test in the United States last week. The missile was launched at 22,000 ft from an Edwards Air Force-based F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range and performed a number of challenging flight maneuvers. The test proved the maturity of the missile, which is specifically designed to fit inside the F-35A weapons bay, and the missile flight control software.
Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 JSM_Kongsberg_F-16
JSM Tested from an F-16 (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

“This is a major accomplishment for the JSM program, and in addition several critical capabilities beyond the scope of the test were verified. The test demonstrates that we are on track with the qualification of JSM, which brings critical capability to F-35 and the warfighter”, says Harald Ånnestad, President Kongsberg Defence Systems.

The JSM is a new missile being developed in partnership with Raytheon for the Norwegian Armed Forces. The missile will complete the qualification program in 2017 and will have unmatched operational capabilities enabling the F-35 to fight well-defended targets across long distances. The missile will be integrated on the F-35A but can also be integrated on other types of aircrafts, meaning its market potential extends beyond the future users of the F-35.

"This successful flight test further validates that JSM will be an ideal solution for the medium-range anti-ship and land attack mission," said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "Raytheon and Kongsberg are working together to deliver this important, new capability to customers around the globe."

The missile flight test program started early 2015 with numerous captive carry tests on an F-16 and will continue with flight tests of increasing complexity through 2016 and 2017. The flight test program is scheduled to complete in accordance with plan in 2017.
http://www.navyrecognition.com

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Citation :
22/02/2016

Intégration de la variante C1 du JSOW sur le Super Hornet !


Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 1b12

Les essais opérationnels de la nouvelle variante du missile Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Stand-off (JSOW) sur avion de combat Boeing F/A-18 « Super Hornet » ont débuté avec un tir réussi.

Un Boeing Marine F/A-18F « Super Hornet » a réalisé un coup direct, contre une cible navale dans le cadre de l’intégration de la variante C1 du missile AGM-154. Cette nouvelle variante de l'arme ajoute la possibilité de lutter contre des cibles mobiles maritimes, en plus de cibles terrestres.

L'AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon « JSOW », est une bombe planante fabriquée par Raytheon. Elle est le fruit d'une collaboration entre l'US Navy et l'US Air Force visant à produire une arme standardisée de précision à moyenne portée, plus particulièrement destinée à engager les cibles bien défendues tout en restant à bonne distance des systèmes de défenses antiaériennes classiques. L'AGM-154 est une famille de bombes planantes appartenant à la classe des 454 kg. Destinées à être des armes hautement létales et à faible coût, elles apportent à leur utilisateur des capacités « Standoff » (tirs effectués à distance de sécurité), permettant d'atteindre des cibles à des distances d'environ 22 km (largage à basse altitude) et allant jusqu'à plus de 120 km (largage à haute altitude). De par ces caractéristiques, la JSOW peut être utilisée en toute sécurité contre de très nombreux types de cibles, même bien défendues. La nouvelle version AGM-154C est dotée d’une liaison de données et dispose d’une capacité à engager des cibles maritimes en mouvement. Elle devrait être délivrée aux forces à partir de 2016.

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 010
Photos : 1 JSOW sur un super Hornet 2 Frappe sur un navire en mouvement @ USN

http://psk.blog.24heures.ch/archive/2016/02/22/integration-de-la-variante-c1-du-jsow-sur-le-super-hornet-860869.html
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JOSEPH TREVITHICK - The Drive a écrit:

This Mini Vertical Launch System Can Give Small Ships And Trucks Huge Firepower

The modular launchers bring the very capable Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, and possibly more, to light vehicles and small patrol ships.


Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Jql-to10

Lockheed Martin has developed a four-round launcher for its new AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, or JAGM, that is designed to be readily installed on warships, including relatively small patrol boats, as well as ground vehicles. This opens up entirely new possibilities for JAGM, which was initially developed primarily as an air-launched anti-tank weapon, in the surface-to-surface role.

The JAGM Quad Launcher (JQL) leverages technology from Lockheed Martin's existing Vertical Launch System (VLS) designs, which include the popular Mk 41 VLS found on numerous warships in the U.S. Navy and other navies around the world. It also uses the same Launcher Electronics Assembly (LEA) from the M299 launcher, a four-rail design for helicopters most commonly associated with the AH-64 Apache. All of this combined with an open-architecture Launcher Management Assembly (LMA) designed to help speed up the integration of updated hardware and software as time goes on to improve the JQL's capabilities and add new functionality.

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Messa104

The JQL comes in two basic configurations, both of which are seen in the rendering above, one designed for installation on ships below deck like a traditional VLS and another one intended to be fitted on top of the decks of ships or on ground vehicles. "JQL’s LEA/LMA launch control system can be integrated with local and remote weapon control systems using wired and wireless interfaces," a product brochure from Lockheed Martin's says.

Both designs have what might appear at first glance to be a fifth launch tube, but which is actually an exhaust that diverts the blast of the missiles firing upward, keeping the overall height of the launcher to a minimum. The below deck design features a hatch-type lid to help keep water out of the launcher. The other version simply has covers over each launch tube and the exhaust that break away when the missiles are launched.

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Messa105

The exact physical space and power requirements needed for JQL installation are not clear, but Lockheed Martin's promotional literature shows a rendering of two of the launchers on the back of a 4x4 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) truck. Renderings of two other example installations are shown, as well. One of these depicts four JQLs mounted on top of the pilothouse of one of the Navy's new Mk VI patrol boats, while the other is has three of the below deck launchers fitted next to an eight-cell Mk 41 VLS array on the bow of a Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), between the forecastle and its main gun. The MMSC is an enlarged derivative of the Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) that Lockheed Martin designed for the Navy, the first customer for which is Saudi Arabia.

If the JQL is as relatively easy to add to various platforms as it appears from these configurations, it could offer a significant boost in firepower for relatively small ships and vehicles when combined with the capabilities of the JAGM. This missile takes the rear portions of an AGM-114R Hellfire II missile and adds in a new, multi-mode seeker.

Most existing Hellfire II missiles use semi-active laser homing to zero in on their targets. This is where an operator in the air, at sea, or on the ground must 'lase' a target with a laser in order for the missile to strike it. There is also the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire variant that uses a millimeter-wave radar seeker. JAGM's seeker can use both or either method depending on what the crew of the platform firing it feels is best for engaging the target at hand, which may be in motion. The missile can also use both modes at once, finding the target via laser designation and then homing in on it using the millimeter-wave radar, as well. This is especially useful if the laser beam were momentarily obscured by atmospheric conditions or were to otherwise break off during the terminal portion of an attack. Using the MMW seeker, the missile can in most cases still hit its target.

Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Messa106
A graphic showing a basic breakdown of the components of the AGM-179A JAGM, including the parts taken directly from the AGM-114R design.
Missile Air-Sol & de Croisiere (Documentation) - Page 2 Messa107
A JAGM on a launcher on a US Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter during a test. Note that the data plate and a warning label with details about the missile's weight have been blurred out.
Having both options available also gives the weapon an all-weather capability, as clouds, as well as smoke and other obsurants, can make lasing a target impossible. The millimeter-wave radar seeker allows the weapon to be cued to the general target area and use a lock-on-after-launch capability to find it and home in on it.

For larger ships, arrays of JQLs could provide an additional layer of close-in defense against swarms of small watercraft or unmanned, explosive-laden suicide boats. The U.S. Navy has been working on integrating the AGM-114L onto some of its LCSs using a vertical launch system for exactly this purpose, an effort that would seem to be somewhat out of date now given the arrival of the more capable JAGM missile. The availability of a JQL variant that can be readily installed above deck means that this kind of protection could be rapidly added to a wide array of naval vessels, including support types that generally have very limited, if any armament, such as fleet oilers and roll-on/roll-off cargo ships.



Naval vessels, including smaller patrol boats, such as the Mk VI example in Lockheed Martin's brochure, could also make good use of these missiles against other small watercraft, amphibious landing craft, and other similarly sized threats. The exact range of the JAGM in a surface-launched configuration is unknown, but if it is anywhere near the missile's reported maximum range of around five miles when air-launched, it is possible that naval vessels could engage targets on land close to shore, as well.

At the same time, it's interesting to note that the small AGM-176 Griffin missile, which the U.S. Navy's Cyclone class patrol craft are presently armed with, also has a reported range of five miles when launched from the surface, though they pack a smaller warhead then JAGM.

In a ground-launched configuration, JQLs could give lighter units on land an important weapon for engaging heavily armored vehicles, strong points, and other better-protected targets. Like Hellfire, JAGM also has a pop-up flight profile, meaning that it could be used against softer targets hiding behind hard cover, such as high walls or rocky outcroppings, as well. This capability could be particularly valuable during operations in dense urban areas, an environment the U.S. military, among others, sees itself increasingly likely to be fighting in as time goes on.

If a single JLTV can carry eight JAGMs loaded in two JQLs. That is a lot of instantly on-demand firepower. Having multiple vehicles in this configuration would give troops the ability to rapidly engage a large number of targets at once. This could make it especially attractive to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, both of which operate JLTVs and are acquiring JAGMs already for their helicopters and other aerial platforms. If the launcher is capable of being install on this light tactical vehicle, one would imagine that a larger array of JQLs could fit on the back of standard two-and-a-half-ton and five-ton cargo trucks for even more firepower.

In both sea and ground-based applications for the JQL, there is a question of targeting. Larger ships would likely have the organic sensors, such as a radar, to spot and track targets at appreciable ranges, as well as potentially designate them with a laser, when it makes sense, to make the most use of the JAGM's dual-mode seeker. However, smaller boats and ground vehicles would likely need to be networked together with other assets to provide critical targeting information, such as drones, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft, or deploy an elevated sensor themselves. Otherwise, they would be limited to laser-designating targets one at a time, and all within line of sight.

There is also the possibility that Lockheed Martin could develop a variant of the JAGM, or an entirely new missile of similar dimensions, that acts more as a kind of loitering munition, with man-in-the-loop targeting capability, such as that found on the Spike Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) missile from Israel's Rafael. That weapon has the ability to fired at a specific area and then be manually steered onto the target by an operator who is seeing what the missile sees via a feed from an infrared camera in its nose. These weapons can be used to reconnoiter their targets before striking them, as well. Azerbaijan used Spike NLOS in this way to great effect during its recent conflict with Armenia, as seen in the video below.



It is worth noting that Lockheed Martin did also demonstrate an imaging infrared seeker capability for JAGM during testing, though the initial AGM-179A variant does not feature that capability. There have also been plans in the past for follow-on versions of the missile with a tri-mode seeker, as well as extended range and other improved capabilities.

It's also interesting to point out that the U.S. Army had actually previously planned to acquire a somewhat similar capability, in the form of the XM501 Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), as part of the abortive Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, which was canceled in 2009. In tests, the XM501, which was made up of Container Launch Units (CLU), each designed to hold 15 small missiles, together with a fire control system, was installed on a 6x6 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) cargo truck. There were also plans to add the XM501 to the Navy's LCSs, which has now been superseded by the aforementioned AGM-114L launch system. It is important to note that the missiles intended to go into the NLOS-LS had much greater range than Hellfire or JAGM and included a type capable of operating as a loitering munition similar to Spike-NLOS.

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A test of the XM501 Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System.

The JQL concept is also similar in some ways to work that European missile consortium MBDA is doing to develop a variety of ground, as well as sea-based, launcher options for its Brimstone missile. Brimstone looks very much like Hellfire and JAGM, visually, and also has a dual-mode laser and millimeter-wave radar seeker.

All told the JQL seems to make incredible sense as a way to quickly add the JAGM missile to a wide array of new launch platforms at sea and on the ground. As the battlespace becomes increasingly networked, deploying these systems would give even diminutive vehicles brutally destructive capabilities with minimal modifications. Add a loitering munition option, and these mini-VLS modules could really increase lethality of even the lightest mechanized units on the modern battlefield.

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THOMAS NEWDICK AND JOSEPH TREVITHICK - The Drive a écrit:

The Age Of Swarming Air-Launched Munitions Has Officially Begun With Air Force Test

The Air Force has begun test-launching networked glide bombs that work together to sort, target, and destroy targets cooperatively on their own.



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The Air Force has dropped Small Diameter Bombs modified to incorporate swarming technology as part of the service's Golden Horde program for the first time. The ultimate aim of this effort is to develop artificial intelligence-driven systems that could allow the networking together of various types of precision munitions into an autonomous swarm.

The test, which took place on Dec. 15, 2020, but which was only publicly announced today, was carried out by a team from the U.S. Air Force Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida using an F-16 Viper fighter jet from that base's 96th Test Wing. The aircraft dropped two specially-configured Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDB) during the experiment.

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The Air Force's Golden Horde program is developing technology that the service could use to turn precision-guided munitions, such as these GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs, into networked swarms.

“The Golden Horde demonstration with the Small Diameter Bomb flights is an important step on the path to Networked Collaborative Weapon systems," Chris Ristich, Director of AFRL’s Transformational Capabilities Office, said. "Completion of this first mission sets the stage for further development and transition to the warfighter."

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is overseeing the Golden Horde program, with Scientific Applications & Research Associates, Inc. (SARA) under contract to develop the actual technology underpinning the effort.

The CSDBs appear to be modified versions of the GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bomb (LSDB), with the laser seeker of that weapon replaced by a new nose section with the Golden Horde technology. The standard LSDB also has the same GPS-assisted Inertial Navigation System (INS) guidance option as the standard SDB. After the F-16 released the two test bombs, they "quickly established communication with each other and their seekers detected a GPS jammer," according to AFRL.

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GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bomb (LSDB).

The GPS jammer was one of a number of potential targets that had been arrayed on the test range. The official Air Force news item on the test described the full mission as such:

During the mission, the weapons referred to pre-defined Rules of Engagement (RoEs), a set of constraints preloaded by a mission planner, and determined that the jammer was not the highest priority target. The weapons then collaborated to identify the two highest priority targets. However, due to an improper weapon software load, the collaboration guidance commands were not sent to the weapon navigation system. Without the updated target locations, the weapons impacted a fail-safe target location.

So, while not a complete success, in that the weapons failed to impact the simulated high-priority targets, the test nonetheless provided the first practical evaluation of the Golden Horde program. Another two CSDB flight tests are planned for early this year, ultimately employing four rather than two collaborative weapons in each mission.

“I’m very pleased with the results of this first test,” said Steven Stockbridge, the Golden Horde Principal Investigator. “The team saw a good performance from the networked collaborative sub-systems and understand the root cause of the weapons not impacting the desired targets. We anticipate readiness for the next flight test.”

Golden Horde is focused on developing what the Air Force is calling “networked, collaborative, and autonomous” weapon capabilities, or NCA, and will involve both live and virtual testing. Ultimately, the plan is to field NCA-enabled weapons that will be able to share information and work together collaboratively in a swarm to best overwhelm hostile air defenses and make it to their otherwise intended targets. This requires the weapons not only to “talk” to each other, but also to sense and react to changes in the battlespace in real-time.

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A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle carrying 20 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs. With technology being developed now through Golden Horde, an aircraft with this loadout might eventually be able to launch these weapons as a single autonomous swarm.

In this first test, the NCA package inside the CSDBs included "a home-on-GPS-jam seeker that gathers information about the battlespace, a software-defined radio for communication between weapons, and a processor preloaded with collaborative algorithms," according to the Air Force. The service compares the collaborative algorithms used in the NCA concept to a quarterback calling a play in football.

Each “play” relates to an established behavior for a swarm of collaborative weapons, depending on the conditions in which they find themselves. Since the weapons use autonomous technology, their responses will only be in line with those prescribed in the preloaded algorithms, or “list of plays.” This kind of capability sounds very similar to what Boeing demonstrated with its Decision Mission-Control Software (DICE) during testing of the X-45A unmanned aircraft nearly two decades ago, which you can read about more in this past War Zone feature.

It's also interesting to note that the "home-on-GPS-jam seeker" used in the CSDBs would seem to imply the existence of a previously undisclosed anti-radiation version of the GBU-39/B with a guidance system capable of zeroing in on a target radio-frequency emissions. If this SDB variant doesn't already exist, this would certainly make clear that it is a viable future guidance option for the weapon.

“This successful Golden Horde demonstration builds the foundation for integrating this technology into a variety of other weapon systems, which will help the U.S. maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries,” said Air Force Colonel Garry Haase, Director of AFRL's Munitions Directorate.

While the Air Force doesn’t appear to have any present plans to field the CSDBs themselves as operational weapons, further developments of the technology that it is now trialing as part of the Golden Horde program could well find its way into frontline weapons. The AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), as well as the ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy, have both been mentioned in the past as potential candidates for this swarming technology.

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Inert AGM-158 JASSMs loaded onto a B-52H bomber

Networked together in a swarm, cruise missiles, such as the AGM-158, could engage targets across a broad area more effectively, prioritizing targets in real-time and even accounting for ones that suddenly emerge, such as pop-up air defense threats, while they're in flight. As well as the increased capability to destroy targets more efficiently, the technology being developed under Golden Horde could potentially allow weapons to be launched into a general area without a specific target or targets identified in advance.  

This same kind of real-time prioritization would be immensely valuable for decoys, such as the ADM-160, or air-launched stores capable of non-kinetic attacks, including ones carrying electronic warfare jammers. A better understanding of the battlepsace through networking would also simply help autonomous weapons cover a designated area in the most efficient manner within pre-programmed mission perameters.



The Golden Horde technology could also provide particularly impressive effects when combined with munitions, such as the GBU-53/B StormBreaker, previously known as the Small Diameter Bomb II, that feature multi-mode targeting systems. Weapons with multi-mode seekers are already immensely flexible against a wide variety of targets, including ones in motion, in various kinds of environments. A networked swarm with these capabilities would therefore have even more ways to find targets and determine the best way to sort and engage them.

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A GBU-53/B StormBreaker loaded onto an F-15E Strike Eagle during a test

In 2019, the Air Force also notably announced that it was canceling its Gray Wolf program, which had been focused on the development of technology to support the development of a low-cost cruise missile, in order to refocus those resources into Golden Horde. At the same time, the service said that the initial phases of Gray Wolf had also been used to explore networked munition concepts and that it would leverage at least some of the work done under that project to support Golden Horde.

The development of advanced, but low-cost munitions is a key tangential requirement to ensure that future expendable weapons swarms do not become prohibitively expensive. Though the Gray Wolf program has been curtailed, the Air Force has still been separately working toward a live-fire test of the experimental missile design that the project had produced.

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Members from the Gray Wolf test team and personnel from the 416th Flight Test Squadron stand behind a prototype Gray Wolf missile ahead of a captive-carry flight test in 2020

All of this could help produce families of “smarter” and cheaper weapons that could also help further reduce the risk to the launching aircraft compared to the kind of precision-guided weapons available today by giving more authority to the munitions themselves to find and engage targets. Tactics wise, having the actual weapons work together to attack certain target sets autonomously could drastically increase their effectiveness, especially in highly defended airspace.

As it stands now, the Air Force plans to conduct at least two more CSDB flight tests early this year. The goal is for at least one of these tests to involve the release of four of the weapons, rather than just two.

This recent test of the first CSDBs already represents an important step forward in the development of exciting new air-launched swarming munitions capabilities that have the potential to totally change how aerial warfare is waged.

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