JSOW unitary continues Autonomous Targeting Acquisition Testing

Submitted by the NAVAIR Public Affairs Office, PEO (W)

Feb. 13, 2001

The U.S. Navy and Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) Unitary team began the second phase of captive carry flight tests last month demonstrating the new Autonomous Targeting Acquisition (ATA).

The JSOW Unitary variant incorporates an imaging infrared seeker with embedded ATA software that builds upon the JSOW family of Global Positioning System (GPS) guided weapons. The Unitary ATA enhancement performs target detection, acquisition, and precision tracking functions autonomously, without a man-in-the-loop requirement. The JSOW Unitary weapon is designed for use against a wide variety of blast/fragmentation sensitive targets and provides precision terminal guidance with increased lethality and accuracy beyond the previous JSOW variants.

The captive flight tests are conducted on Raytheon's Convair 580 aircraft using the actual JSOW seeker/guidance hardware and software. The ATA system successfully acquired and tracked a variety of targets near the Raytheon facility in Tucson, Ariz., including buildings, power plant sub stations, and airfield targets.

Incorporation of ATA allows for target discrimination and precise aim-point selection by the F/A-18 pilot during the mission planning phase. The mission planner selects desired impact angle, attack axis, and target aim-point from intelligence target images.

The JSOW mission planning software then develops a file consisting of a scene-based template that is loaded into the aircraft and is subsequently downloaded into the weapon. Once launched from the aircraft, the JSOW weapon is guided via a GPS aided inertial navigation system until the ATA feature is automatically employed during the terminal phase of the flight profile. The ATA software correlates the scene-based template contained in the mission file to the image as seen by the imaging infrared seeker and guides the missile to the pre-planned aim-point. Options are being studied to enhance mission utility with target of opportunity capability.

This round of testing follows successful flight tests conducted late last summer that verified the ATA software and performance. The second phase of captive flight testing will be completed at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, Calif. test ranges.

The JSOW Unitary team will conclude its captive flight tests this summer with the F/A-18 Hornet. Unitary developmental testing will continue into fiscal year 2002, and includes a series of JSOW launches from the F/A-18 aircraft planned for late this year. Low rate initial production is planned for fiscal year 2003.

The JSOW program is managed by the Conventional Strike Weapons program office, which is part of the Program Executive Office, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO (W)). For more information on PEO (W), log on to