Smart Weapons of War
Written by Tim Nash
History of War - Weapons of War
America has long been a leader in technology and the development of machines that can take over many of the "smart" functions that people used to do. In many cases, the development of smarter and better technology comes from the military or the space program. And there is no question that the bombs and missiles we have used in the last twenty years are notable because they are more than just explosives we drop from a jet. They are smart missiles and bombs that are tremendously potent. They know their target and know how to seek it out en route.
The US military has been an institution that has consistently capitalized on technological breakthroughs when it comes to new weapons of war. So it makes sense that many of the amazing new breakthroughs in navigation would benefit our aerial warfare developments. The GPS device has been as much a benefit to how we develop guided missiles as it has been to civilians using it to find their way around on vacation. By equipping a guided missile with GPS and micro-computing technology, the missile can literally "think", target and make adjustments after it is launched so it can find its target successfully virtually ever time.
We have seen the use of this technology give us the edge in a number of conflicts. In Desert Storm, the Tomahawk Cruise Missile gave our military commanders the ability to launch an aerial assault from an aircraft carrier or even a submarine. The Tomahawk was able to deliver deadly accuracy because of the onboard GPS guidance system, which assured that the missile itself would seek out and destroy what it was programmed to eliminate. The outcome was the Desert Storm conflict was one of very few military casualties taken by US forces because our bombs were smart enough to do much of the "dirty work" of warfare for us.
The Tomahawk program has continued to be developed to make the smart bomb aspect of our aerial warfare capability even smarter. The newest generation of Tomahawk missiles can be programmed with up to fifteen targets before launch and the onboard intelligence, working with ground direction, can literally determine which target is the best choice en route. The missiles have even been equipped to "loiter" over a target area to allow onboard cameras to give military strategists an unprecedented view of the target area.
The conflicts in the Middle East has seen the deployment of powerful weapons that can inflict tremendous destruction on the enemy with pinpoint accuracy. The development of the so-called "bunker buster" bombs enable our aerial combat commanders to go after underground installations that the enemy may have built to avoid bombing and take out military targets that used to be safe from American bombers.
In many ways these kinds of potent weapons are even more effective as part of an aerial warfare strategy than nuclear weapons because we combine tremendous destructive power with the accuracy of GPS technology. Because the military always stays one step ahead of the enemy in the use of advanced technology in the development of new weapons, we can expect to see the American aerial combat capability continue to dominate our enemies for a long time to come.
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