smart weapon

smart weapon, missile or steerable bomb equipped with a laser , television , or satellite guidance system. Smart weapons, which use guidance systems that rely on external assistance, are distinguished from brilliant weapons, which are totally self-guided. In the case of a smart bomb with a laser guidance system, an aircraft pilot aims a laser beam at the target, a computer keeps the beam locked on the target, and the bomb has a sensor programmed to find the reflection of the laser's light. A guidance computer adjusts the path of the bomb after it is released, using movable fins to steer. A television guidance system uses a television camera in the nose of the weapon to lock onto the image of the target identified by the pilot. Satellite-guided bombs have guidance computers that use signals from navigation satellites to confirm that they are on target the tail fins are adjusted to control the bomb's course as it falls. Cruise missiles also utilize information from navigation satellites to maintain a proper course during flight. Extensions of smart-weapon technology are off-road mines that can listen for moving vehicles and attack them, thinking antipersonnel mines that are activated or deactivated automatically after a set period of time, and missile and artillery fire targeted by space-based intelligence-gathering satellites.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Military Affairs (nonnaval)

Browse by Subject