The US Army in late August issued a request for information on Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) capable of loitering over a target for use against people and vehicles, and it is now looking for low-cost solutions to fill ‘urgent LMAMS operational requirements’.
In a filing on federal procurement site FedBizOpps, the army said: “The LMAMS is envisioned to be a precision-guided system, organic at the small unit level that enables engagement of enemy combatants without exposing the Warfighter to direct enemy fires.”
The army also says it is looking for a ‘modular’ architecture which will allow it to be adopted for future fire systems or a Department of Defence’s (DoD) common control system.
It describes the system saying: “LMAMS will have the ability to automatically track a target designated by the operator or allow “the operator to manually control the system as needed to focus on a specific area or point of interest.”
The system would allow the user to designate a geographical area over which the weapon can ‘loiter’ before striking its target. Once the operator of the weapon has designated a target and fired, the system requires no more engagement.
Once fired the operator will have the option to “visually select and identify targets of opportunity, loiter, abort, abort and redirect, arm [or] disarm, and manually command warhead detonation.”
The army plans to use the LMAMS against ‘personnel and light-duty vehicles’ like pickup trucks similar to those used by groups such as ISIS, and wants a system that includes the missile, launcher, and fire control unit which ‘provides the user real-time video and control of the missile’.
The US Army is planning to build on capabilities already developed under the Small Organic Precision Munition (SOPM) programme; its end goal appears to be for a man-portable system that can be fired from the shoulder.
The US Army already fields loitering munitions, deploying them in Iraq and Syria, however, the army’s current push would give soldiers increased fire-support capabilities.