Air Weapons: SLAM Set To Hunt SUVs


August 28, 2009: The U.S. Navy has successfully tested its AGM-84K SLAM ER missile with a new guidance system which enables the tracking and destruction of moving land targets (like missile launchers, or SUVs full of terrorists). SLAM ER is a 1,400 pound (636 kilogram) missile with a 280 kilometer range, a 500-pound warhead, and costing half a million dollars each. Six years ago, navy upgraded SLAM so that it could be controlled in-flight. This became the first "ER" ("Expanded Response") version of SLAM. (Standoff Land Attack Missile.)

These original SLAM missile was first used during the 1991 Gulf War, and was very similar to the Harpoon (which it shared many components and design features with). SLAM was originally designed for destroying ships. But because of its accuracy, it was found capable of taking out land targets as well. Guidance is similar to JDAM (GPS and inertial guidance system), but with a heat seeker and final adjustments via a data link by the pilot any aircraft equipped with SLAM control equipment. In the past, the SLAM had to be programmed to fly a specific course before takeoff. Being able to reprogram the missile in flight is another capability required for weapons used via the battlefield Internet. This allows a satellite, aircraft or UAV to pick up a target (like an enemy ship hidden in a cove), and pass that data to an aircraft carrying a SLAM-ER.



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