An integral part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems, LAM and its laser detection and ranging (LADAR) seeker have been successfully demonstrated under previous Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s NLOS-LS (Netfires) and U.S. Air Force’s Low-Cost Autonomous Attack (LOCAAS) programs, and will be interoperable with the current as well as future forces.
LAM is an expendable loitering hunter-killer sensor/weapon. It will be about 60 inches long and weigh less than 120 pounds. LAM will be equipped with laser radar seeker and have automatic target recognition and classification algorithms. Equipped with a micro turbojet engine and large wings, it will be designed for missions of up to 30 minute duration, most of the time will be spent loitering over the target area, in a searching pattern, providing continuous target intelligence from a distance of 70 kilometers from the launch point.
LAM can be employed as a target-acquirer, and is able to scan, identify, report and isolate all targets encountered throughout its flight path with extreme reliability, thus increasing the warfighter’s knowledge of the battlefield. And by screening all the imagery on board the munition via the target recognizer, only the relevant data is sent back to the operator. Thus LAM sends back an occasional ‘chiplet’ of relevant target data information the operator assessment.
As a hunter killer sensor/weapon LAM has a dual mission – to search a wide area for targets an relay their location back to the command center, where these targets are engaged by direct attack PAMs or by other assets. Toward the end of its mission, or when a priority target appears, the LAM itself can be directed to break off its search and attack the target or any other target it is assigned by the commanders.