Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the capabilities of its newly developed target location module (TLM) during testing, in support of the US Army's stockpile reliability test (SRT) programme at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US.
The TLM is an important part of the battle-proven and portable lightweight laser designator rangefinder high accuracy (LLDR 2H) system.
During the testing, the TLM precisely reported grids commensurate required for global positioning system guided munitions. This helped the LLDR 2H successfully acquire the locations of two separate tank-size targets, present at extended ranges from the observation post.
The location data was then used by two army's tactical missile system (ATACMS) missiles to achieve direct hits on both targets, demonstrating the high accuracy of the TLM.
Gordon Stewart, laser systems business unit vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman, said that the hybrid sensor solution combined data obtained from a digital magnetic compass and celestial navigation sensors to provide highly accurate azimuth solutions, enabling precise target location.
"The TLM delivers a near instant-on azimuth solution, is not susceptible to magnetic anomalies and requires no calibration," Stewart said.
"Bringing this capability to the warfighter will address a technology gap that exists today within the US Army."
The LLDR 2H is a modular target locator and laser designation system, designed to allow observers and air controllers to conduct surveillance missions, as well as identify and engage enemy threats at safe distances with minimum collateral damage.
The system can be operated during day and night in nearly all battlefield conditions, including haze, smoke, fog and rain, and uses an eye-safe laser wavelength to recognise targets, find the range to a target, and fix target locations for laser-guided, GPS-guided and conventional munitions.
Northrop has been awarded a $661m indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for delivery of LLDR 2H system to the army with production deliveries to begin in August and run through to June 2013.