posted on May, 24 2004 @ 04:36 AM
May 24, 2004: As U.S. weapons developers examine potential futures for next-generation smart weapons, several different design choices have emerged.
Among the more interesting questions is what mix of weapons (and the funding to develop them) will be dedicated to high-speed standoff weapons or
endurance systems that would loiter over a target region and attack whatever shows its head. Currently, the endurance crowd is gaining points with the
concept of expendable "persistent munitions", falling between the capabilities and price tags of guided weapons and UAVs. Advocates argue persistent
munitions can offer a deterrent before the outbreak of hostilities, while hypersonic munitions (very high speed and long range missiles) are more
costly and technically difficult to implement. Hypersonics would have a role against a limited and "extremely high-value" target set.
The leading candidate for the "persistent munition" is the "Dominator" low speed missile. A Dominator weighs about a 100 pounds, has a pop-out
wingspan of around twelve feet, length of around three feet, and is expected to have a loiter time of 12 hours or more. Basically, the Dominator is a
low speed, propeller driven glider, which is how it can stay in the air for so long. Each one can patrol several square kilometers. The Dominator uses
off-the-shelf components, to keep the price down. Dominator is basically an expendable UAV that warplanes can carry deep into enemy territory. They
could be used, for example, to disrupt enemy vehicle traffic on roads.
Launched in groups of three or four at high altitude out of the F/A-22 weapons bay, a swarm of 24 Dominator endurance weapons would loiter over an
area of interest at a few thousand feet. Attacks are coordinated using a Dominator equipped with sensors and control software that would keep track of
activity on the ground and order the other Dominators to attack specific targets. This would avoid multiple attacks on the same target. When targets
are spotted, each Dominator can eject one or two anti-tank weapons that float to the ground and use built in radar and heat seeking sensors to home in
on the target and attack it with a special shaped charge that penetrates the thin upper armor of armored vehicles. This weapon is similar to the one
already used in the air force SADARM bomb. The Dominator can then dive into a third target and explode.
So what do you think? I think it is a nice idea. Imagine F-22 releasing 20 of these cheap things on the place where enemy units will come in few hours
and than simply fly away, Dominators could patrol 12 hours over an area and destroy up to 40 tanks or armored vehicles when they detect them.