What if two or more precision-guided air-launched weapons such as bombs or missiles were able to share information in flight to adjust to changing targets, re-direct as needed or thwart enemy attempts to “jam” the electronic guidance systems of the weapons?
Such a concept is no longer a future question regarding an undetermined time in future warfare … it is here. Last year, two Air Force F-16s fired Small Diameter Bombs which shared threat data with one another while in flight to a target using an emerging kind of collaborative weapons coordination, enabling the bombs to adjust trajectory and change course in response to identifying enemy guidance jamming signals.
Rapid progress with this emerging program, called Golden Horde, is coming to fruition in part due to innovation, research and experimentation going on within the Air Force Research Lab. In an interview with Warrior, Air Force Research Lab Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle explained some of the technological progress which is driving this program. Certainly an ability to gather, analyze and share target specifics “in flight” in a collaborative way introduces new, paradigm-changing tactics into the realm of Air War.
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Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.