BAE Systems to develop non-GPS optical seeker for precision munitions


British defense firm BAE Systems is to continue developing and testing a cheaper optical seeker for precision-guided munitions after being awarded US$13.1 million by the US Government.

The Seeker Cost Transformation (SECTR) project has been awarded to BAE Systems by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

The seeker is designed to improve navigation, as well as automate target location and homing, for types of munitions used in environments where using a GPS signal is not possible.

The precision guidance system uses passive electro-optical and infrared sensors to navigate autonomously during day or night. The SECTR seeker can also integrate with a wide range of weapon platforms.

The first phase of the SECTR program ran for 18 months and also tested a prototype developed by Lockheed Martin.

The second phase will conclude in July 2019 with multiple test firings on several precision-guided munition platforms at BAE Systems’ site in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Mark Meisner, a chief scientist at BAE Systems, said, “We’ve developed a flexible seeker that radically lowers the cost typically associated with precision guidance. The SECTR program is enabling us to deliver advanced sensing and navigation capabilities for munitions to warfighters faster.”

The seeker’s open architecture facilitates low-cost munitions 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 easier integration into current and new weapon systems.

May 8, 2018

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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