DARPA selects BAE Systems for optical seeker on precision munitions

08 May 2018

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) seeker enables hit-to-kill engagements of short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles | Credit: BAE Systems

The U.S. DARPA, through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, has awarded BAE Systems a $13.1 million contract to demonstrate a new, open architecture, cost-effective optical seeker for precision-guided munitions.

The seeker is designed to improve navigation, as well as automate target location and homing, for different types of munitions that are used in GPS-denied and other contested environments.

BAE Systems tested the seeker during the first phase of DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Seeker Cost Transformation (SECTR) program. The SECTR seeker integrates with a wide range of weapon platforms that use munitions and can operate in both the day and the night. It enables autonomous precision guidance via passive electro-optical and infrared sensors in environments where GPS navigation is unavailable or unreliable.

“Low-cost, precision munitions are critical to our customers, which is why we’ve developed a flexible seeker that radically lowers the cost typically associated with precision guidance,” said Mark Meisner, a chief scientist at BAE Systems. “The SECTR program is allowing us to deliver advanced sensing and navigation capabilities for munitions to warfighters faster.”

Artist's concept image of targets being shown a landscape from the view of an airplane | Credit: BAE Systems

The seeker’s open architecture enables highly accurate, competitive, low-cost munitions to be capable of navigating and locating targets in limited-access and denied environments. It provides these munitions with quick-reaction capabilities while meeting stringent cost, size, weight, and power requirements. The open architecture also enables rapid seeker integration into current and new weapon systems.

In July 2019, this phase of the program will conclude with multiple test firings on several precision-guided munition platforms.

Learn more about the company’s sensors and processing technology and precision-munition technology.

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