Harpoon & JSOW Getting 2-way Datalinks
Rockwell Collins announced that it has been awarded an $18 million contract by Raytheon Missile Systems to design, develop, and produce the Strike Common Weapon Data Link for the JSOW Block III precision glide bomb and the next generation of Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Strike Common Weapon Data Link Program is ultimately sponsored by the U.S. Navy’s PMA-201 program management office.
The 2-way, anti-jam, dual waveform (UHF and Link 16) datalink will add the ability to provide target updates from the launcher to the weapon or vice-versa, retarget the weapon while in flight, abort if desired, and provide bomb hit indication (BHI). Because the data link is fully networked and available to other platforms, available options go well beyond conventional launch platform-to-weapon communications. This allows warfighters to destroy critical time-sensitive and moving targets in all weather conditions, expanding delivery options and target choices to near real-time.
For instance, a frigate launches a pair of Harpoon missiles, which travel ahead into contested territory and target an enemy corvette, flying a slightly indirect path to hit it from two sides. An F/A-18F is roaring through the area on the way to an airstrike, flying low to the water and staying 50 miles away from the enemy ship so it remains below the radar horizon. Suddenly, ts APG-79 AESA radar picks up a hostile diesel-electric submarine as it surfaces for air nearby. The pilots retarget one Harpoon missile to hit the submarine instead of the lower-priority surface ship, while the other missile continues on. The Harpoon’s datalink quickly confirms a hit on the sub, which is silently relayed to other units via Link 16. High above, an E-2D Hawkeye receives the information and switches a sub-launched Harpoon to join the frigate’s attack on the enemy corvette, since its own original target was destroyed and it still has some range left.