Forthcoming tests of Boeing's AGM-84H SLAM-ER will check the missile's ability to track and engage a moving ground target turning through 90e_SDgr. The work will form part of US Navy operational tests of a newly developed capability to allow targeting by a third party.

Tests carried out last year at the US Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, California, demonstrated the system's ability to track and hit moving targets using targeting data from a littoral surveillance radar system (LSRS)-equipped Lockheed Martin P-3, and from the US Air Force's Northrop Grumman E-8 JSTARS surveillance aircraft.

Released from a Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet, the weapon was handed off to a second F/A-18 carrying an AWW-13 datalink pod. The SLAM-ER tracked its target using updated data relayed from the LSRS via Link 16 datalink to the AWW-13, plus last-minute manual guidance inputs from the aircrew.

Targets included mocked-up surface-to-surface and air-defence missile launchers driven by remote control along a 11.3km (7 mile) dirt road at 20mph (32km/h). The initial phase included two live drop tests, 30 ground and 35 captive-carry tests, nine of which were performed using LSRS or JSTARS. The next phase will check the system's ability to track a launcher around a 90e_SDgr turn in the road.

Despite good tracking updates, the missiles would have missed their targets in some cases but for last-minute crew intervention, the USN test team told the Society of Experimental Test Pilots meeting in San Diego, California.

Source: Flight International