AFRL Golden Horde ‘Swarms’ Would Increase Fighter Lethality

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Unread post09 Jan 2021, 01:33

AFRL’s Golden Horde ‘Swarms’ Would Increase Fighter Lethality
08 Jan 2021 Theresa Hitchens
"...Gunzinger said he hopes that the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be given “priority” for future mating with the CSDB, when and if its development is successful...."


""The Air Force has been quite open about the need to develop a new generation of weapons that are smaller and better suited for stealth aircraft operations," says Mitchell Institute's Mark Gunzinger.

WASHINGTON: The Air Force Research Laboratory’s prototype ‘swarming’ munitions failed to hit their targets in their first flight demo, but experts see the potential for networked, autonomous munitions to eventually equip America’s entire fighter fleet.

The new munitions being designed under AFRL’s Golden Horde project use data links to communicate, cho[o]se targets (based on pre-programmed algorithms) and then coordinate strikes against an array of targets, independently from the human pilot.

“Salvos of collaborative weapons that can share target information and autonomously coordinate their strikes after launch could help maximize target damage and compensate for weapons lost in flight due to enemy defenses or other factors,” explains Mark Gunzinger, director of future programs at the Mitchell Institute. “This would enable the U.S. military to use smaller salvos of weapons to achieve desired effects in the battlespace compared to larger salvos of non-collaborative weapons that must be independently targeted/retargeted by human operators.”

The first Golden Horde flight demo was held Dec. 15 but announced yesterday. The project is designed to build data links that enable semi-autonomous weapons to ‘swarm’ a target. The effort involves two different weapon systems — the Collaborative Small Diameter Bomb I (CSDB-I) and the Collaborative Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (CMALD) — with a “capstone” test expected this fall.... [MUCH DETAIL at the URL]

...Col. Garry Haase, director of the AFRL Munitions Directorate explained in the release: “This successful Golden Horde demonstration builds the foundation for integrating this technology into a variety of other weapon systems, which will help the U.S. maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries.” For the moment, however, Haase said there aren’t any plans to transition the autonomy package onto the current arsenal of SDBs.

Gunzinger said he hopes that the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be given “priority” for future mating with the CSDB, when and if its development is successful.

“Short-range standoff weapons like the SDB I and SDB II allow aircraft to strike targets without overflying defenses that may be concentrated around target areas. This improves the survivability of all aircraft that employ them, including 5th generation stealth aircraft,” he said. (SDB II, the GBU-53 StormBreaker, is built by Raytheon.)

“The Air Force has been quite open about the need to develop a new generation of weapons that are smaller and better suited for stealth aircraft operations (need 5th gen weapons for 5th gen aircraft),” he added."

Source: https://breakingdefense.com/2021/01/afr ... lethality/
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber

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