Precision Guided Munitions

Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) Terminal Guidance Systems (TGS) Using Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) Imaging Sensors

Today's Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) employ a variety of guidance approaches. Many such weapons have sensors to home in on targets illuminated bylaser designators, often aimed by Special Operations Command (SOCOM) personnel on the ground or from targeting pods on aircraft. More and more, such illumination systems are moving to lasers in the 1550 nm short wave infrared (SWIR) range to provide an eye-safe environment for humans. In such applications, Sensors Unlimited SWIR sensors and imaging products have broad applications when included as part of a terminal guidance system (TGS) in precision guided weapons. Small, reliable, and extremely sensitive, Sensors Unlimited SWIR cameras, imagers and sensors can provide a high-performance solution to PGM needs.

The attack munitions in the image below can be used with a short wave IR camera and covert laser to heighten precision.

While weapons using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) guidance systems are very accurate, the evolution of warfare today requires that collateral damage be kept to a minimum. As a result, field commanders are seeking weapons with reduce-blast capability, offsetting this with higher precision. As the chart here shows, as precision increases (defined as a reducing Circular Error Probability - CEP), the warhead needed to attack a given target goes down in size and collateral blast. Such GPS-based systems can achieve even higher precision (allowing further reductions in warhead size) by employing a ground-based SWIR laser targeting device in combination with a SWIR-based terminal guidance system in the weapon. Invisible to all but those equipped with SWIR vision systems, a fine-beam SWIR laser can guide a PGM to basketball-sized targets at long distances. 

The higher level of PGM precision not only reduces collateral damage, but also enhances the entire mortar capability of the squad. With increased accuracy from a ground-based SWIR laser and camera system, the squad will use and fire fewer rounds and will ultimately carry fewer rounds. Carrying less rounds enables a team to be more flexible on the ground enhancing the team's effectiveness.

For more information about the future of Precision Guided Munitions, please read the Military & Aerospace Electronics Article - Breakthroughs In Inertial Sensors to Augment GPS Will Guide Future of Precision-Guided Munitions. 

Many SWIR camera capabilities are considered sensitive. If you would like to learn more about SWIR capabilities for the military, you can register at a special web site, You must be a US Government employee or a USG contractor and be a US Citizen to access this site.