They appear simlar, but that is the trend for future US cheap munitions. LOCAAS is far lighter and could be considered the baby brother.
Actually, LOCAAS has roots that go even further back to the Boeing/Hughes 'WASP' minimissiles.
While the ranges differ considerably (WASP was a sub 10km weapon in it's earliest forms, LOCAAS was first envisioned as an unpowered glide vehicle
etc. etc.) the basics remain the same:
1. Man is stupid.
2. Man's ride is huge.
3. Man AND his ride have the sensor acuity of a two day corpse.
Thus it is FAR better to put the brains and the 'talk on' process into the bullet than the bus airframe. Something which Hughes in particular had
proven possible using Apple II+ level technology around 1984.
In which it was discovered that a miniature 'constellation' orbit of WASP, launched from pods like giant FFAR and swarm-centered on a coordinate
sent by a GFAC (firing pilot breaks off at the IP) could send simplistic "I got one, rolling in!" alerts among fellow members as the weapons weapons
rotated in and out of the target area on extended parabolic (blip motor) spreads of lagged look.
Every target call injecting a delay lag before the missiles again dipped down to search for the next target after the MMW bloom signaled a new
Because missiles operating on such a simplistic system could better sort targets /after/ launch than junior could (remember, LANTIRN won't arrive
until 1991-92) from distances which popup and scan/freeze modes on his primitive MTI and CDIP modes could manage. Before closing to sling a ballistic
weapon from near-overflight or lofted horseshoe toss.
Indeed, even today, if you have to be within a 1,000-1,500m to truly read some of the more subtle (uncopyable) elements of a passive BCIS
panel/blinker/edge-dot system; there is _no way_ for a manned aircraft to avoid an engagement which begins and ends on "If they look up and have an
appropriate weapon to shoot with you're gonna die..." basis of overflight.
No hope. No chance.
Of course if it is night time and an active battlefield (Canadians on exercise) and said pilot is hyped on drugs and trusting NVD that see the ground
as a vague haze, then the only people who have to worry are the ones in objects large enought to be seen at all (TACP and Friendly Force
Yet it is for these very reasons that SMACM, as the conceptual inheritor of AWASM and LAM and LOCAAS and WASP and TGSM, will likely never see
production here in the U.S.
Because the armed farces that constitute our mighty defense now know better than to 'give any quarter' to /cruise/ weapons (the rise and fall of
SAC's imperial flying club).
As indeed, the article brief itself makes clear-
'With a range of over 200nm...launched from outside the range of most air defenses...including other combat aircraft.'
Effectively, an F-16 can make /better/ use of this system than an F-35 can because, with CFT and four BRU-61 multiracks, it can launch 16 such weapons
without having to 'convert' from internal-only carriage.
And lord knows, we can't have our worthless sky knights failing to set the fashion pace by showing up in the latest /style/ of Ferrari airpower at
the next Farnborough or Le Bourget.
Indeed, given that AWASM and Netfires (LAM = Loitering Attack Munition) are in fact /ground launched/ systems which have also been cancelled because a
single vehicle like this-
Can in fact exceed the range and fire power of an entire tank platoon at ONE FIFTH THE COST.
The reality is actually that Lunchmeat is probably pretty desperate to sell off the vested technology base to /someone/.
Just as FOG-M has ended up in Europe and South America. And 'the original netfires' (an AAWS-M candidate) is now the SPIKE in Israel.
We will never see this system 'fly' until someone without a dole-fed Air Force full of white scarf mentalities decides they want effective strike
power without the intermediary of a 40 million dollar bus system.
It's a brave new world people. In which the only way to 'stay safe' is to let the arms manufacturers sell their wares offshore so that they can
have a reason to work on the generation-after-next to save us from their corruption.
P.S. It does look as if the design has been significantly cleaned up with a longer fuselage providing not only more fuel but an increased fineness
ratio compared to LOCAAS.
Which means it is no longer a 200 knot penetration cruise weapon as said minimissile LOCAAS effectively was.
Since one of the original roles MALD was intended for was 'lethal decoy', it is no wonder that this weapon is being advertised in that "Makes a
pilot shudder...." mission role. Because as a _limited_ force inventory with high subsonic or even supersonic (as MALD was) options, this option
lets you deploy a screen of hounds before the hunter which can effectively act as short-slant reaction systems at half the time of flight and (33,000
dollars for the LOCAAS qaudrupled = 132,000 for SMACM) one eighth the price of a HARM.
All from an internal bay. Or underwing on 'hang back' assets like the teen jets.
Nothing better than 'proving' stealth works than by making the S-300/400/Aster shooters too scared to try lest they die based on someone in an
MP-RTIP or SAIRST equipped platform (200nm back and 50-70K feet up) sending a launch-report which cues a dog over to smell around for the TEL.
It's not a bad idea. It's just bogus for it's nested 'a club for every green' complexity of serving the utterly worthless manned fleets rather
than being it's own hunter.