UK Ministry of Defence developing missiles that talk to each other
The British Ministry of Defence is investing £3.5 million (US$4.8 million) in the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for the Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator (CSWTD) program to develop new systems that will allow missiles in flight to communicate with one another.
Back in the 1960s, the first laser-guided munitions were nicknamed "smart bombs." These could simply be steered toward their target by a pilot or weapons officer, but five decades later we're seeing an emerging generation of weapons that are smart in the very real sense that they can gather data, assess situations, and alter their plans to achieve their objectives.
The problem is that for such weapons to be effective, they need to be able to operate as a team rather than in a top-down fashion. The current generation of missiles can talk to their launcher, but not to one another. This is a considerable drawback with weapons that are able to adapt to their situation and need to inform their fellow missiles of the situation.
To remedy this, the CSWTD will look at developing both new hardware and new software that will make missiles more cooperative, as well as studying how to apply them to real-world scenarios. The new program is part of a larger £6-billion (US$8-billion) research and development budget by the ministry.
The two-year project began in April 2021 and the new technology could be integrated into a smarter integrated network of missiles within five years.
"Currently missiles can communicate with the launch platform but not each other," says a Dstl scientist identified as Charlie. "The aim of this program is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behaviors can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges"
Source: Ministry of Defence