U.K.’s Ministry of Defence has granted the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) £3.5 million to develop innovative hardware and software that will make smart missiles talk to or with each other. It will be a two-year project that is expected to find its way into U.K.’s smarter missile network within five years.
The DSTL-led project, known as Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator, plans to explore how inter-missile communication systems could improve the country’s current missile arsenal.
The first laser-guided munitions, known as smart bombs, made their debut back in the 60s. These types of unitions simply could be steered by a pilot or a weapons officer. Five decades later, we’re seeing a new generation of missiles, smart enough to gather data, have situational awareness, and alter their plans to accomplish the mission.
However, these missiles are only effective if they operate as a cohesive team. Today’s missiles can talk to their launchers, but not to and with each other. It’s a major drawback with weapons that need to inform fellow missiles about the dynamic situation.
To remedy this, the CSWTD will look at ways to develop more cooperative missiles, as well as their applications in real-world combat scenarios. The new program is part of a larger £6-billion ($8-billion) R&D budget by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence. It will aim to improve missile dynamics and responsiveness, ensuring they can adapt to constantly changing threats and situations. Instead of working individually, an upgraded smart missile system will allow them to sync, cooperate, and organize with each other during missions.
Currently, DSTL scientists, along with multinational missile developer and manufacturer MBDA, are studying military scenarios suited for its tactical capabilities.
Enhancing U.K.’s Military Capabilities Through Smart Missile Tech
British Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, believes that this multimillion-dollar will boost the U.K.’s ability to deal with new and emerging security threats. He also stresses the importance of investing dosh in military R&D, noting the role of science and technology in evaluating how their assets operate.
The funding also supports the delivery of future cooperative missiles, as well as their software and hardware, system studies, and applications in various operational scenarios.
If proven successful, the U.K. could enjoy the benefits of having a smarter, integrated missile network within five years and be a leading force when it comes to smart missile technology.
U.K.’s Defense Modernization Plan
Investing in modern armament and military gear, along with procurement for more naval assets is part of the country’s military modernization plans to improve and secure the British interests on a global scale.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace mentioned that the country will be constantly operating and improving its arsenal to deter future threats and deal with adversaries if deemed necessary.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has completed the first phase of its Golder Horde Technology – semi-autonomous swarming weapons that use A.I. to seek high-value targets (HVTs) – in June.
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