High Tech/Low Cost 'Loitering Munitions'

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High Tech/Low Cost 'Loitering Munitions'
« em: Fevereiro 04, 2005, 09:25:48 am »
MoD Investigate Use of High Tech/Low Cost 'Loitering Munitions'  
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Feb. 3, 2005)
 British troops could get a range of futuristic new armaments, able to loiter over a battlefield for hours before identifying and then destroying their targets, under a research programme that has been launched by the MOD.  
Defence experts from the MOD and industry are investigating the innovative concept of a 'Low Cost Loitering Carrier' that could give land and maritime units the ability to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy at ranges of hundreds of miles.  
Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach said:  
"We need to detect and engage a wide range of mobile and time sensitive targets and the LCLC programme may prove to be a cost effective means of doing so. This is still at the research stage, but, if successful, munitions from land or sea based platforms would be fired into an area possibly hundreds of miles away and loiter over the target area whilst reporting back to a forward or rear deployed controller via secure data links.  
"They could give us the ability to hit targets, even moving ones, with a low cost system which would enable the weapon systems operator to maintain 'eyes on' thus giving him or her the best opportunity to maximise target damage. The Indirect Fire Precision Attack programme is already assessing potential solutions for part of this target set, and the LCLC could contribute to this programme in the future.  
"Such a system will place UK Defence Industry at the forefront of this capability, offering the potential of substantial future work to a variety of Small and Medium Sized enterprises"  
In addition to smart sub-munitions, the LCLC has the potential to carry a number of payloads including sensors for long range surveillance, communications relay equipment and even supplies for troops deployed deep into the battlefield.  
Unlike Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAVs) LCLCs are envisaged to be 'one-shot' items that don't return once their mission is finished. They will fly to a pre-determined, well recorded, and, if possible, well marked "safe" landing site. Able to function in all weathers on a 24-hour basis they will also have to be affordable, a key part of the technology demonstrator programme.  
The programme will focus on the fusion of commercial off the shelf systems in an attempt to draw on the technology available commercially and thus reduce development time and cost. MOD procurement is keen to pilot these ideas within this study to establish if this process has a role in streamlining the MOD's procurement.  
The MOD this week announced a major milestone in the programme with the selection of SD (UK) Ltd to carry out a concept demonstration of both the technology and techniques to bring a real product into existence. This phase, which will last about 2 years, aims to enable the MoD to assess if the LCLC is a cost effective solution to a number of military questions.  
The demonstrator programme will be conducted by SD (UK) together with a consortium of primarily UK based SMEs. If the programme is successful it is anticipated that the downstream exploitation would provide UK with a world leading capability with the opportunity to stimulate significant wealth and job creation in the UK.