Lessons from the conflict in Iraq could drive weapons development for years to come, believes Randy Bigum, Lockheed Martin's vice president, strike weapons.

The changing style of modern warfare meant customers were demanding high-precision weapons causing less collateral damage, he adds, and customer demands leave no room for error.

"We expect to win wars while minimising collateral damage - even on the enemy. Methods such as carpet-bombing are no longer acceptable," he says.

"Gone are the days when chivalrous armies met on the battlefield well way from towns - nowadays wars will more likely take place in those towns."

To reduce the possibilities of collateral damage, Bigum says Lockheed Martin is developing and testing strike weapons such as the low-cost autonomous attack system (LOCAS) and the joint air to surface stand-off missile (JASSM). Other weapons, such as the wind correction munitions dispenser (WCMD), were already proving their worth.


"In tests, JASSM is the second-highest performing missile in testing history," says Bigum. It has performed successfully in 14 out of its 18 tests and WCMD has already been used with a high degree of accuracy during the recent Iraq conflict.

He added that the cost of the JASSM represented a new breakthrough, costing a fraction of previous cruise missile programmes. "We've discovered how to make low-cost cruise missiles," he says. "JASSM is less than half the cost of a current cruise missile."

Source: Flight Daily News