DARPA-Raytheon Team Creates Smart Bullets To Combat Drone Swarms
” The U.S. Navy is working with defense contractor Raytheon to bring precision guidance to fast-firing light cannons. The MAD-FIRES project could soon help ships fend of waves of smaller, heavily armed attack boats.
The U.S. Navy does a lot of work in the so-called littoral zone. The zone, generally described as the shallow coastal waters near land, is as close as ships like destroyers can get to land, but it can also get hairy. Potential enemies can invest in fast, cheap, short-ranged patrol boats, arm them with rockets and machine guns, and use them in swarm attacks against much larger ships.”
” That’s precisely what Iran did during the 1980s, buying Swedish Boghammer speedboats and mounting infantry weapons on them. Iran is still doing it, as seen earlier this month when the guided missile destroyer USS Mahan was forced to fire warning shots at patrol boats in the Straits of Hormuz. The small boats broke off their attack run, but some day a Navy ship might come under real attack.
That’s just one potential swarming threat. There’s also the traditional threat from manned aircraft and guided missiles, and now an emerging threat from swarming drones.
The Multi Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System—or MAD-FIRES—could be the solution. The goal of MAD-FIRES is to create smart cannon rounds that can be guided to individual targets. According to Military & Aerospace Electronics, the rounds will have the capability to alter their flight paths to hit maneuvering targets, and re-engage targets that are still standing.”