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 Vol. 9  No 5 October  2001            

Future Trends in Armament Technology

There will be convergence in the following five areas of enhancements. This is the focus of  intense research and development throughout the world :

    Extended stand-off range: ability to strike deep behind the enemy's frontline

    Precision strike capability (accuracy and consistency): so called 'surgical strike' capability, with near-zero 'collateral damage' to civilian, non-combatant population and infrastructure, and maximum hit probability at first strike

    Enhanced lethality: ability to 'kill' a target or effectively neutralise it at first strike

    Enhanced mobility and survivability: 'shoot and scoot' and innovative passive and active protection systems, including 'stealth' technology

    Enhanced ability to fight in all terrain, all-weather, night/poor visibility conditions

Conventional armaments are going through anew 'Revolution in Military Affairs' phase in which advanced technologies have become the drivers and enabling mechanisms. Other factors that will  drive armament technologies are :

    Minimisation of non-combatant/civilian casualties, avoidance of collateral damage to civilian installations

    Compliance with anew paradigm of international humanitarian and environmental protection/conservation conventions, protocols and treaties leading to development of anew generation of less-than-Iethal/non-lethal weapons and disabling technologies, which may be de novo developments or may be integrated with existing delivery systems

    Incorporation of high levels of information technology (IT) and the survival of those IT components and systems in an extremely hostile information warfare (IW) scenario. IW, in fact, is dominating the battlefields today in future and will profoundly affect the future of conventional armaments

    Advanced propulsion technologies involving development of improved low vulnerability solid propellants and acquisition of technologies for electrothermal chemical (ETC), solid fuel ramjet (SFRJ) electromagnetic propulsion

    Advanced armament electronics for sensors and fuze technologies-smart/intelligent fuzes having digital signal processing capability and laser/photonics proximity fuzes, MMW, IR, IIR sensors for  projectiles and warheads for next generation smart/intelligent/brilliant.munitions

    Technologies for next generation explosives, warheads and munitions, like case bonded composite  propellant technology, metal-based fuel rich propellant, polymeric hydrocarbon-based fuel propellant, fuels for FAE bombs, low vulnerability munitions, advanced KE projectiles, smart and brilliant munition technology, aimable warhead, etc.

    Technologies for enhanced terminal effects of warheads-explosively formed projectiles, scatterable  remote mines, antiship, antisubmarine and antitank warheads with stand-off capabilities, detonic and shock dynamic studies, large explosive initiators, pulsed plasma magneto hydro-dynamic systems,

    Non-lethal/less-than-lethal weapons (NLW/LLW) technologies, disabling agents, mechanisms and weaponisation issues

    Materials for high strain rate applications in weapons, munitions and sub-assemblies, polymer/metal  matrix composites, low density high strength alloys, high strength steels, smart materials for sensors  and actuators, etc.