HUNTSVILLE, Ala., June 4, 2002 -- A U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) team conducted a successful flight test of the Pre-Planned Product Improved (P3I) Brilliant Anti-armor (BAT) submunition May 14 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
This marked a second consecutive success in a series of 12 drop tests planned this year as part of the P3I BAT's development phase. Launched from a Cessna aircraft, a recoverable version of the weapon (RBAT) flew over a formation of 16 remotely controlled, moving armored vehicles equipped with countermeasures.
The baseline BAT, currently in production at Northrop Grumman's Land Combat Systems facility in Huntsville, is an autonomous submunition that uses a combination of passive acoustic and infrared (IR) sensors to seek, identify and destroy moving armored targets deep in enemy territory.
The P3I BAT, a planned block upgrade, adds advanced millimeter-wave radar and improved imaging IR sensors, providing a co-boresighted, dual-mode RF/IR seeker that works with the baseline acoustic sensors. The new seeker expands BAT's engagement capability to include a wide range of both stationary and moving targets, particularly missile launchers. It also improves BAT's performance in adverse weather conditions and against sophisticated countermeasures.
"P3I BAT, delivered into a distant target area by missiles or UAVs, will improve substantially the Army's ability to strike discrete, high-value targets-whether moving or stationary," said Dr. William H. Forster, vice president, Land Combat Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems sector. "These developmental tests allow us to improve, refine and mature P3I BAT's advanced sensors and algorithms, leading to a new generation of precision Army munitions."
Visual observation and early quick-look analysis of the May 14 test data indicated that the RBAT executed the planned "indirect attack" maneuver properly, in spite of a mechanical failure in one of the target vehicles that opened a large gap in the formation. It detected targets acoustically and tracked a countermeasured target.
Following successful target acquisition, the secondary parachute was cut, and the IR seeker maintained line-of-sight track of the target until terminated by the recovery maneuver. The tracked target was equipped with the same countermeasures used last summer in tests of the baseline BAT, which was unable to "see through" the countermeasures.
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