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Advanced weapon system helps respond to attacks by small swarming boats

Date:
July 16, 2010
Source:
Office of Naval Research
Summary:
The Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker (LCITS) could soon give the U.S. Navy and coalition military ships an upper hand in swiftly defeating multiaxis attacks by small swarming boats.

The seeker is composed of three main subsystems: a targeting integration system aboard the helicopter, a digital smart launcher and the guided imaging rocket. The helicopter uses its targeting system to lock onto and track the target’s position and velocity, and transfers the information to the rocket launcher prior to weapon release. Once locked onto the target, the weapon follows the LCITS commands to the target.
Credit: Image courtesy of Office of Naval Research

The Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker (LCITS), an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored technology, could soon give the U.S. Navy and coalition military ships an upper hand in swiftly defeating multiaxis attacks by small swarming boats.

Managed by ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department as a Future Naval Capability (FNC), LCITS equips the unguided Hydra-70 rocket with a low-cost imaging infrared guidance solution to more accurately strike an intended target.

The seeker is composed of three main subsystems: a targeting integration system aboard the helicopter, a digital smart launcher and the guided imaging rocket. The helicopter uses its targeting system to lock onto and track the target's position and velocity, and transfers the information to the rocket launcher prior to weapon release. Once locked onto the target, the weapon follows the LCITS commands to the target.

From a pilot's perspective, the entire process can be handled in a matter of seconds, increasing the number of targets that can be engaged in a short amount of time. LCITS can also engage targets in a 120-degree cone centered off the nose of the helicopter at ranges up to 7 kilometers.

Howard McCauley, LCITS principal investigator in the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center's Emergent Weapons Division, touts the speed by which the system operates.

"The key to survivability while effectively engaging and defeating the fast inshore attack craft threat is the target engagement timeline," McCauley said. "You must be able to very rapidly engage and defeat each target. The technology we've developed will provide this increased capability."

In a demonstration earlier this year, an LCITS-equipped AH-1 Cobra helicopter targeted and fired a rocket against a maneuvering unmanned small boat at a test range off the coast of California. The pivotal test firing highlighted not only LCITS' ability to strike high-speed mobile surface targets, but marked the successful conclusion of the program, opening the door for its transition to the fleet.

The Republic of Korea teamed with the United States in this co-development between the two countries, helping to improve the aerodynamic performance of the rocket system and lower the overall design cost. Dr. Seung-Ki Ahn, project manager at the Agency for Defense Development for the Republic of Korea cites multinational collaboration for the success of the test launch.

"This was a great moment to exhibit how the potential of a true team effort between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. can very effectively expedite the fielding of a low-cost precision guided weapon,'' Ahn said.

The seeker now moves forward to the Medusa Joint Capability Technology Demonstration phase. Started in 2009, the Medusa ensures that a military utility assessment will be completed on the LCITS, which will lead the way to a naval acquisition program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office of Naval Research. "Advanced weapon system helps respond to attacks by small swarming boats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100716125649.htm>.
Office of Naval Research. (2010, July 16). Advanced weapon system helps respond to attacks by small swarming boats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100716125649.htm
Office of Naval Research. "Advanced weapon system helps respond to attacks by small swarming boats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100716125649.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

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