US military to develop bomblets that chase you

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US military to develop bomblets that chase you

The military want to be able to drop a bomb on a moving target, like a car, and it chases after it like a scene from a B grade movie.

THE US air force is seeking to develop a cluster weapon that releases a swarm of bomblets that could each pursue and destroy targets many kilometres away, New Scientist has learned.

The US Department of Defense revealed its requirements for the weapon in an online research request. In it, the air force asked American aerospace firms to submit proposals by 24 September for a weapon that "engages multiple targets" using "guided smart submunitions".

The request says the submunitions - the formal term for bomblets - should be equipped with sensors capable of locking on to targets up to 5 kilometres away, and should have enough onboard power to chase a moving target for up to 5 minutes.

"These new bomblets would effectively be miniaturised air-to-surface missiles," says Colin King, an analyst with Jane's, a defence publisher based in the UK.

The air force hopes the guided weapons will "increase accuracy and reduce collateral damage". Existing "smart" cluster bombs scatter bomblets equipped with lasers and infrared sensors, which allows them to identify targets such as tanks and trucks.

That's not necessarily enough to tell friend from foe, but at least their range is limited - to about 350 metres in the case of the US-made BLU-108. The proposal, however, calls for bomblets that lock back on to targets if they happen to lose track of them, meaning they might lock on to the wrong vehicle.
By netchicken: posted on 31-12-2008

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