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GPS and Weapons Technology

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Title: GPS and Weapons Technology


1
The Dragons Jaw Thanh Hoa Bridge over the
Song Ma River, North Vietnam c. 1970
2
The Dragons Jaw, take 2 May 1972.
3
GPS and Weapons Technology
  • Rob Barnett
  • 04/10/06

4
  • War is permeated by technology to the point that
    every single element is either governed by or at
    least linked to it it is no less true that every
    part of technology affects war.
  • -- Martin Van Crevald

5
Bombs
  • Explosive material packed into a sturdy case with
    a triggering device
  • Dumb bombs falls straight to ground when
    dropped
  • Problem very hard to drop a bomb accurately from
    any high altitude
  • Solution precision weapons

6
Precision Weapons
  • Self-guiding explosives or munitions use
    built-in control system and adjustable flight
    fins
  • Force multipliers that maximize efficient use of
    resources
  • Reduce unintended collateral damage to
    non-military targets
  • 3 types radio-controlled, laser-guided,
    satellite guided

Unit-27 Enhanced Guided Bomb (http//science.howst
uffworks.com/smart-bomb1.htm)
7
Remote-Controlled Weapons
GBU-15 TV/IR Bomb (http//science.howstuffw
orks.com/smart-bomb2.htm)
  • Video or infrared camera relays information to
    plane, where remote operator steers bomb towards
    target
  • Camera keeps target in center of display
    automatically directs bomb through air
  • Developed by U.S. and Germans in WWII, used
    primarily in Korea and Vietnam

8
Laser-Guided Weapons
  • Bomb equipped with a laser seeker sensitive to
    laser beam at a certain frequency
  • Laser planted on target by human operator in
    air or on ground
  • Used first in the late Vietnam War, then
    extensively in Desert Storm and Kosovo
  • Cost approximately 60,000

GBU-10 laser-guided bomb (http//science.howstuffw
orks.com/smart-bomb2.htm)
9
A Problem
  • Both remote-controlled weapons and laser-guided
    weapons rely on continued visual contact with the
    target. In cloudy weather, then, the bombs may
    veer off course, wasting the bomb and potentially
    causing costly damage to unintended targets.
  • Solution satellite-guided weapons

10
Satellite-Guided Weapons
  • The most effective and most efficient kind of
    precision weapons.
  • The bombs computer uses GPS signals to steer
    itself towards a targets coordinates, and
    inertial navigation (velocity-measuring
    gyroscopes) if for some reason GPS fails (i.e.
    GPS jamming)
  • The most common type of satellite-guided weapon
    JDAM

11
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
  • The most popular mechanism for delivering
    satellite-guided bombs, the JDAM is not an actual
    bomb but instead a tail kit attached to existing
    dumb bombs.
  • JDAM-equipped bombs have a CEP of 13m, even with
    a loss of GPS signal new version accurate to 3m
  • Cost approximately 18,000

12
(http//www.fas.org)
13
Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW)
  • Long-range satellite-guided missile designed to
    hit targets from a range far beyond that of
    anti-aircraft weaponry

(http//www.fas.org)
14
Potential Difficulties
  • GPS Jamming this is largely accounted for by
    INS systems
  • Improving accuracy technology limitations
  • Human intelligence errors (ex. Chinese Embassy
    mistake)
  • Potential terrorist capabilities (delivering
    biological weapons, hitting high-value targets,
    etc.)
  • Driving enemies off the conventional battlefield
  • Over-reliance on weapons as the way to win a war

15
The D.I.Y. Cruise Missile
  • To prove a point, Bruce Simpson of New Zealand
    designed his a cruise missile in his garage for
    under 5,000. Using a 120 GPS development
    system purchased on eBay, he was able to create a
    cruise missile capable of carrying a 10-kg bomb
    over 100 miles with a 100m accuracy. All parts
    were acquired and put together without raising
    any suspicion, and the final product was small
    enough to be launched from a pickup truck.
    Implications?

16
Conclusions
  • Precision-guided weapons, especially those
    equipped with GPS technology, have greatly
    improved the militarys strike capabilities and
    reduced many of the difficulties of war.
  • However, there are still significant improvements
    that can be made to maximize the efficiency of
    modern weapons technology.

17
Part of a Larger Movement
  • GPS technology is in part so effective because of
    other advances in military technology, including
  • Unmanned flying drones
  • Bombs equipped with infrared and laser sensors
  • Automatic target-recognition algorithms
    (brilliant bombs)

18
  • According to current and former officials,
    Pentagon and CIA planners have been exploring
    possible targets, such as the uranium enrichment
    plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion
    facility at Isfahan. Although a land invasion is
    not contemplated, military officers are weighing
    alternatives ranging from a limited airstrike
    aimed at key nuclear sites, to a more extensive
    bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of
    military and political targets.
  • --U.S. Is Studying Military Strike
    Options on Iran, The Washington Post, April 9,
    2005
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