Simple geolocation (currently supporting 90 and 30 meter positioning accuracy) could be sufficient for general orientation but will not be suitable for targeting of GPS guided weapons, such as JDAM. This level of accuracy is yet to be provided by unmanned systems. At present, the US Air Force is operating systems such as the Gridlock advanced concept technology demonstrator, integrated with the Global Hawk system. Gridlock uses a high precision navigation system generating a digital terrain database with 10 meter accuracy. Even these levels of accuracy are insufficient for precision engagement by unmanned systems – future unmanned combat systems will be required to deliver targeting accuracy of 1 – 3 meters.
Accurate location is not the only factor needed for precision engagement – cruise missiles, and EO guided weapons such as Storm Shadow, Taurus 350 and SPICE requires precise and detailed imagery for navigation and terminal guidance. Live video is required for “man in the loop” control of guided weapons, such as Hellfire and SPIKE, to avoid fratricide and collateral damage. Users requiring such live imagery can link directly to the sensor, using “tactical video receiver” which receives analog video streams. UAV images can be shared by multiple users, including helicopter pilots, field commanders as well as dismounted troops. More advanced systems enable active control of the payload.
Additional parts of this article:
- Turning raw data into actionable intelligence
- Enhanced Vision Systems
- Target Geolocation
- Computer Mapping & Modeling
- Automatic Change Detection
- Convoy protection and IED patrols