General Dynamics (GD) Ordnance and Tactical Systems and the US Army Armament Research and Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) have conducted a joint GPS-guided weapons test with the Tiger Shark unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
During the testing, the UAV launched an 81mm mortar from a height of 7,000ft and was guided to within 7m of a GPS-identified target grid in three separate engagements.
The mortar was equipped with GD's roll control fixed canard (RCFC) control system and an ARDEC-developed fusing solution to provide precision-strike capabilities.
GD Ordnance and Tactical Systems' Seattle operations general manager Mark Schneider said the effort demonstrated a low-cost, tactical version of a GPS strike weapon in the 10lbs-class for tactical UAV platforms that can be used to quickly engage and defeat targets.
ARDEC Munitions senior associate Tony Sebasto said: "The air drop mortar (ADM) programme with General Dynamics provided a platform to successfully demonstrate and mature subsystems, including communication links, munitions deployment, guidance and control and fusing."
Using the existing mortar inventory, the ADM seeks to provide a low-cost, lightweight weapon system to meet the needs of the Army, US Marine Corps and Special Forces for a faster target response capability.
The nose-mounted RCFC guidance kit replaces existing mortar fuses to provide a common, multi-platform guidance, navigation and control (GNC) and integrated weapon system for the UAV.
It has already been tested on multiple mortar calibres in both air-drop and tube-launch applications.
"It gives the US warfighter an option for a very affordable and very capable precision strike weapon," Sebasto said..
Image: A Tiger Shark UAV conducting a mission. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.