The main direction of development of military equipment in the twenty-first century was the transition to the massive use of electronic devices and information technology. Such solutions are being introduced throughout the entire line of weapons and at all levels of the organization of the armed forces, from infantry infantry equipment to a global satellite constellation.
At the moment, the appearance of entire areas of military activity, which had been forming for centuries, is changing. For example, topographic orienteering and astronomical navigation have been replaced by the use of satellite systems GPS, GLONNAS or Galileo. These systems consist of a space and ground segment, connected by radio. The space segment is represented by several dozens of high-orbit satellites emitters, and the ground segment is represented by special receivers equipped with computing devices. The dimensions of modern receivers allow you to mount them in a computer case, a portable radio station, binoculars, or a laser pointer. The use of additional correction signals WAGE (Wide Area GPS Enhancement) allows up to several inches to improve the accuracy of object positioning. Interference immunity is ensured by the use of receiving antennas with a controlled CRPA radiation pattern.
The point-to-point radio communication invented at the beginning of the last century is increasingly being replaced by a zone subscriber-base station-subscriber radio, with the base stations located at the network nodes covering the space with cells in the form of reliable reception. This made it possible to switch to the use of a radio signal in the ultra-high frequency range, propagating within the line of sight, but at the same time allowing to transmit many times more information per unit of time than the radio signal in the UHF or HF range. A promising radio technology is CDMA - broadband transmission with coding of individual channels in the total bandwidth. It features a noise-like signal spectrum, support for hundreds of dedicated data / voice channels, or combining multiple channels for streaming video in the frequency range from 1 to 5 GHz (microwave).
For the reception and transmission of messages to zones under the control of the enemy, space communications are used, consisting of a group of low-orbit satellites and wearable radio stations. The low altitude of the orbits of satellites above the Earth’s surface contributes to the low signal power and the small size of radio stations, which practically coincide in size with commercial cellular phones. The passage of the orbits of satellites through the poles of the Earth makes it possible to achieve coverage with a confident connection of the entire earth surface. In addition to the omnidirectional whip antennas, the subscriber units also use remote, highly directional phased array antennas, which improve the conditions of the reception and transmission by an order of magnitude, reduce the radiation power and eliminate the danger of detecting a communication session with the help of radio intelligence.
Low signal power in one subscriber channel (CDMA2000 - 0,25 wadding) allows you to install base stations and repeaters on board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), each of which occupies a position in one of the nodes of the radio network at an altitude of 6 km and provides reliable reception of a direct signal in zone diameter xnumx km. It becomes possible to maintain the redundancy of the number of node devices, thereby ensuring the stability of the radio network in the event of exposure to them by means of electronic warfare (EW), including missiles with homing on the radiation source. The same reservation method is used in satellite constellations of space navigation and communication systems.
Digital coding of a radio signal allows to combine voice, image and data in one channel, the latter being the most capacious source of information. The introduction of streaming encryption into subscriber devices devalued the possibility of decrypting information - using microwave communications, the amount of transmitted data becomes so great (including streaming video), and the encryption algorithms are so cryptographic that the data decryption speed will differ significantly from their speed encryption, thereby devaluing the information received.
Subscriber terminal devices have also changed significantly - their main difference was the presence of a video camera / thermal imager and a display. The size of the cameras has decreased to a few millimeters, in the short term it is expected to decrease to a few tenths of a millimeter. Cameras used in Vision Synthetic Aperture Systems switch to a multi-lens faceted design, such as the Swiss CurvACE, which provides all-round visibility and electronic image magnification without the use of optical-mechanical devices.
Displays of military-purpose subscriber devices are being developed in the direction of the shock-resistance of their panels, to the extent of giving them the flexibility of a wearable terminal of the automated command and control system FBCB2. Further miniaturization of displays and the approach of the screen directly to the pupils of the eyes with the separation of the picture into two components allows for the implementation of a three-dimensional image technology. Such devices in the form of augmented reality projection glasses with translucent lenses and built-in video camera, telephone headset and touch cursor are currently offered by many manufacturers, ranging from Microsoft to Vuzix.
At the same time, automated troop command and control systems (ACCS) develop in the direction of reducing the reaction time between detecting the enemy and exerting fire on him, as well as providing in real time the collection and dissemination of information about the tactical situation in all levels of command and control of troops and crews of combat vehicles. Progress in communications, navigation, on-board fire control systems (LMS) and wearable computers has allowed ACCS to be specialized in solving the tasks of the level of the headquarters of military units, units and formations. The stability of systems in combat is ensured by the network nature of information processing and storage, for example, the online tactical environment is automatically formed at three levels at once - in the wearable computers of the unit commander, his subordinates and the commander of the higher unit.
In addition to the onboard MSA, the capabilities of armament of military equipment are expanded by guided munitions. They contain head guidance systems (GOS) based on thermal or visible target signature, which have become an integral part of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, including ammunition for portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS). The use of the seeker for guiding missiles at air targets is facilitated by the good contrast of targets against the sky. The development of target identification algorithms against the background of the underlying surface also made it possible to switch to the use of the seeker in the design of missiles included in the set of anti-tank missile systems (ATGM), as well as in the design of guided artillery shells and aviation bombs.
However, GOS have a congenital deficiency - they are sensitive to the degree of transparency of the atmosphere in the visible and thermal ranges of the spectrum of optical radiation. With a large dustiness and / or smoke from the air over the battlefield, the target's range of capture by its visible / thermal signature drops sharply. The use of laser illumination of the target is fraught with the risk of the enemy using the means of optoelectronic and fire effects on radiation sources.
A more promising solution is the inertial guidance system (SRI), which is independent of the degree of transparency of the atmosphere and complete noise immunity. ISN is a set of three accelerometers located in three mutually perpendicular planes, and a processor-calculator. Each accelerometer consists of an annular fiber-optic resonator with mirrors, between which the oncoming laser beams propagate. Interacting with each other, the rays form an interference pattern, from which you can determine the magnitude of the acceleration. The processor-calculator determines the change in body position in space in accordance with the direction, magnitude and duration of the acceleration along each of the three spatial axes.
At the SPI, developed at Caltech, laser accelerometers and a processor-calculator are integrated in a single silicon microchip. Optical depressions are drawn on its surface — depressions with a length of twenty, a width of one and a depth of several tenths of a micron. Two rails pass along each depression, which form a light guide for a laser beam, ending with a radiation intensity sensor. On one of the rails installed measuring mass. When the mass under the action of acceleration deviates, then it bends the rail, thereby reducing the intensity of radiation. Analyzing this figure with the help of a processor, an accelerometer can register the mass transfer by several femtometers (proton diameter), which is a thousand times more accurate than the known laser accelerometers can do.
Inertial systems consisting of one microchip and therefore small in size, weight, and cost are intended for use in rocket-propelled grenades, developed by MBDA as an individual weapons infantrymen. Tiger grenades (weight 450 grams), Sniper (weight 1 kg) and Enforcer (weight 5 kg) with an accuracy of a few centimeters can hit targets with both direct fire (at a distance of several hundred meters) and hinged fire (at a distance of several kilometers) . The flight of grenades to the target is carried out along the most optimal ballistic trajectory using the terminal targeting algorithm.
The accumulated experience in the development of modern communication and navigation systems made it possible to begin the transition to an integrated technology of fire engagement of the armed forces. The US program PCAS (Persistent Close Air Support), implemented by Raytheon by order of the DARPA agency, is designed to make a breakthrough in the tactics of general arms combat. The program is scheduled for completion in 2014 year.
The new technology includes the following components:
- digital map in three-dimensional image;
- satellite positioning devices for equipping infantrymen and all types of military equipment;
- zone microwave communication with integrated data, voice and image transmission;
- guided munitions with ISN and GOS;
- projection glasses with built-in video cameras / thermal imagers, acoustic headsets in the form of ear vibrators (providing two-way sound transmission through the bone tissue, regardless of the level of external noise), touch cursors and inductive data transfer connectors in the IST of a wearable weapon;
- MSA wearable weapons;
- an automated troop control system in real time with functions of coordinating the actions of combatants, as well as collecting and transmitting information about the tactical situation by level of control.
All combatants are supplied with their own digital map copies recorded on solid-state media. Three-dimensional map image, incl. with data on the tactical situation, is projected on the translucent lenses of glasses with the combination of control points of the map and visible objects on real terrain. Manual target selection is accompanied by automatic determination of its coordinates, which makes it possible to produce an accurate direct fire shot or transfer the coordinates and type of the target to the OMS of the combat equipment providing fire support.
MSA wearable weapons made on the basis of a pocket computer with a ballistic computer. In one case with a computer, a microwave modem, a satellite positioning device, a solid-state storage medium and a port for connecting projection glasses are located.
Targeting wearable weapons in one of the following ways:
- small arms are induced by combining the line of sight of the target with a projection of a digital map, after which a ballistic calculation of the elevation angle of the trunk and the lead angle is made (in the case of a shot at a moving target), the calculation results are projected onto the lenses in the form of a refined line of sight;
- a rocket launcher is induced by the method of transferring an inductive connector from an infantry's MSA to an SPE, grenades arrow coordinates and targets (to ensure the grenade’s flight along a ballistic trajectory between these two points) with indication of elevation and lead angles;
- anti-tank / anti-aircraft missile is induced by transmitting an infantryman (located at the front position) to the rocket’s ISN (located at the closed position) coordinates of the launcher and target to ensure the rocket’s flight along the ballistic trajectory through the optical rocket’s ISN cable (using the fiber optic cable).
The implementation of the function of a ballistic calculator of all types of portable weapons in a single infantry OMS allows you to abandon the installation of electron-optical sights on each weapon, thereby significantly reducing the weight and cost of weapons.
First of all, the technology of the digital battlefield allows for a new way to organize the interaction of infantry units and army aviation in the form of UAV drums with guided bombs on the external load. The commanders of infantry units will be able to simultaneously perform the role of gunners and operators of weapons of UAVs, patrolling in the air at low speed outside the combat zone. The absence of a pilot cockpit, armor protection and gun armament, as well as the use of bombs instead of missiles on board a UAV, allows you to multiply the payload. After the transfer of the coordinates and type of targets from the SLA of the infantryman to the SLA of the UAV, the aircraft automatically switches to a set of speed and altitude, and then drops bombs from the tailing without entering the enemy’s air defense zone. Bombs fly in a ballistic trajectory under the control of the SPV. If it is necessary to hit mobile targets, bombs with an additionally installed homing unit are used.
In the final version, the technology of the digital battlefield completely names the nature of the operations of the ground forces in the tactical unit-brigade link, leaving behind the infantry only the functions of reconnaissance and guidance of artillery and aircraft strikes, which serve as platforms carrying high-precision weapons. When carrying out combat operations in an urban environment, guided rocket-propelled grenades will be used as the main infantry strike means. As a result tank the troops will get rid of the tasks of assault guns and will be able to concentrate on maneuvering operations in the depths of the enemy’s defense. The main factor in achieving victory will be the fire, rather than a quantitative advantage in manpower and equipment.