Raytheon UK’s spiral development of its Paveway IV precision-guided bomb has passed a key milestone, with a full “arena trial” detonation of its Spear Cap 1 low collateral damage warhead.

Chief weapons engineer TJ Marsden says the early-March 2014 detonation – in a containment arena built to capture all the fragments – was a prelude to some six weeks of work by engineers and student volunteers to count and categorise every fragment impact. That work, he says, will be used to validate the company’s new hydrocode modelling software, which allows it to rapidly design numerous iterations of a warhead.

Now in flight testing is a digital seeker version of the Spear Cap 1, with improved guidance software for better tracking of moving targets, such as vehicles travelling in excess of 70mph (115kmh). “Little or no” aircraft integration will be required, says Marsden.

An integrated antenna to defeat GPS jammers will begin trials in the next two to three months, he adds. The unit, retrofittable to Paveway IV in the space between the weapon's tail fins and based on Raytheon’s LandShield anti-jammer, will be offered to the UK Ministry of Defence “quickly”.

And, says Marsden, a Raytheon-QinetiQ concept for an enhanced hard target penetrator is also ready for development. The partners have validated the expendable shroud for what is literally a hardened steel spear that fits inside the standard Paveway IV external form.

Source: FlightGlobal.com