Smart Weapons for UAVs


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In recent years, weaponized UAVs have been used primarily by US forces as part of the global war on terror (GWOT). Predators were employed to support Special Forces operating over mountainous area in Afghanistan and Northern Iraq. Predators launched their Hellfired into a “basket”, where the missiles could lock on the target, illuminated by laser designators operated by Special Forces teams which roamed the area, tracking their targets on the ground, waiting for an opportunity to launch an attack. These teams could also benefit from imagery transmitted from the UAVs, patrolling the area at high altitude.

Evolving concepts of operation call for the simultaneous and coordinated operation of multiple UAVs, operated partly autonomously, while mutually supporting each other with ISR and weapons coverage. Such constellations of UAVs are providing warfighters with rapid response when engaging time critical targets (TCT) at reduced rate of response between target detection, targeting and engagement.
More covertly, such platforms were reportedly employed by the Israelis throughout their recent conflict with the Palestinians, performing many ‘targeted killings’, on terrorists as they were spotted by Israeli intelligence, moving openly in the streets of the Gaza strip. The types of weapons used by the Israeli UAVs have not been disclosed, but according to Palestinian reports, a gradual evolution of weapons has been encountered during the years since the beginning of the Intifada in 2000. In recent years, the damages inflicted by the Israeli aerial launched weapons became more focused, more lethal, indicating of smaller, accurate weapons, designed to minimize collateral damage while enabling accurate and effective engagement of mobile targets in complex urban environment. According to foreign sources, various constellations of weaponized UAV swarms were employed over South Lebanon during the 2nd Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, in effort to hunt Hezbollah rocket launchers scattered in hidden lairs around this area.

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