Precision Guided Weapons become true force multipliers when they are included as “effectors” in an integrated Net-Centric force. In order to effectively share data and respond to information flows, precision guided weapons must be able to receive information before, and during their autonomous flight, and also send back information which can be shared by the rest of the networked elements.
Introduction of datalinks is already taking place, offering flexible targeting capabilities to weapons such as the Tomahawk Block IV and SLAM-ER, as well as the Israeli SPICE and Have Lite. Future integration of datalinks is planned for JASSM, Storm Shadow / SCALP EG and even the advanced versions of JDAM. Future systems such as LOCAAS, NetFires and JCM will have datalinks built into the system. The availability of such datalinks will provide intelligence and targeting centers with access to many more “eyes” dispersed throughout the battlespace, resulting in enhanced, autonomous cooperative engagement capability. With the availability of fresh information, the proportion of time sensitive targets as part of the target sets is expected to increase. Therefore, future “effectors” will be require to loiter for extended periods of time over a target area, and attack specific targets as they appear, of rapidly engage time sensitive targets with minimum preparation. Such weapons will be carried by aircraft, UAVs or pre-positioned in the theater, they will be designed as multi-purpose weapons, offering selectable operating modes to match the most common targets – such as selectable multi-mode warheads and fuses, and multi-mode sensors. They should be prepared to address different engagement conditions and target profiles. Examples of such concepts are the LOCAAS, NetFires, JCM and MCT.
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