Optical Seeker for Munitions Systems
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, has awarded BAE Systems a $13.1 million contract to demonstrate a new, cost-effective optical seeker for precision-guided munitions. The seeker is designed to improve navigation, as well as automate target location and homing, for different types of munitions that are used in GPS-denied and other contested environments.
BAE Systems tested the seeker during the first phase of DARPA's Seeker Cost Transformation (SECTR) program. The SECTR seeker integrates with a wide range of weapon platforms that use munitions and can operate in day or night. It enables autonomous precision guidance via passive electrooptical and infrared sensors in environments where GPS navigation is unavailable or unreliable.
The seeker's open architecture enables highly accurate, competitive, low-cost munitions to be capable of navigating and locating targets in limited-access and denied environments. It provides these munitions with quick-reaction capabilities while meeting stringent cost, size, weight, and power requirements. The open architecture also enables rapid seeker integration into current and new weapon systems.
BAE Systems has extensive experience in developing precision guidance systems for munitions. Their APKWS® laser-guided rocket is a mid-body guidance section that transforms a standard unguided 70 mm rocket into a precision laser-guided rocket. Their Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) seeker technology is capable of autonomously detecting and identifying targets. The M982 Excalibur GPS-guided, 155 mm artillery shell can defeat threats at ranges up to 60 kilometers, impacting at a radial miss distance of less than 2 meters from the target. And their Silver Bullet Precision Guidance Kit can transform a standard artillery shell into a precision-guided munition.
This phase of the DARPA program will conclude in July 2019 with multiple test firings on several precision-guided munition platforms.
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