Low Cost Cruise Missile Defense
The goal of the Low Cost Cruise Missile Defense
(LCCMD) program is to employ emerging and existing technologies to develop and demonstrate
an affordable missile interceptor. The LCCMD program is directed at defeating a threat
consisting of unsophisticated air vehicles attempting to overwhelm our defensives by
attacking in large numbers or by attacking over wide geographic areas. These threat
vehicles include cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering
conventional, chemical, or biological weapons and conducting jamming or surveillance
The results of DARPA studies concluded that a low cost interceptor leveraging
the planned air defense infrastructure offered the greatest promise of lowering
cost-per-kill against unsophisticated air vehicles. Based on the results, the LCCMD
program has focused on the development of low cost seekers for use on a modified version
of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD).
During the course of the program, the low cost seeker concepts will be downselected
based on the results of analyses, laboratory tests, ground tests, captive flight tests,
and military service interest. A single seeker will be integrated with a modified MALD
vehicle for live fire testing and transition to the military services.
The LCCMD program is focused on the development of advanced
low cost interceptor seekers. These seekers achieve low cost by eliminating a costly
gimbal, using commercial hardware, and matching seeker performance to the threat. The
concepts being pursued through FY99 include:
- Noise Radar Seeker. The noise radar seeker is a millimeter band system that transmits a
noise waveform. The noise radar seeker operation is fundamentally different than
traditional radar, is inherently low cost, and is robust to certain threat
countermeasures. The noise seeker leverages the recent advances in processor technology.
- The Micro-Electromechanical Machine System (MEMS) Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA)
Seeker. The MEMS ESA seeker employs MEMS switches to fabricate an affordable ESA. The ESA
eliminates the need for an expensive gimbal assembly. The MEMS ESA seeker leverages the
recent advantages in MEMS technology.
- Laser Seeker. The laser seeker uses a high power laser transmitter and fiber optic
receiver. The laser seeker employs a series of mirrors and unique fiber optic receiver to
eliminate the expensive gimbal assembly. The laser seeker leverages the recent advantages
in fiber optics technology.
- Infrared (IR) Seeker. The infrared seeker uses a low cost long wave uncooled IR focal
plane. Since it is a strapdown system, it does not require an expensive gimbal assembly.
The IR seeker relies on commercial technology to provide an affordable seeker.
- Optical ESA. The optical ESA employs a light modulated semiconductor wafer lens. This
novel approach generates varying plasma patterns on the semiconductor wafer using an array
of light emitting diodes. Different plasma patterns on the semiconductor effectively steer
a millimeter wave beam passing through the semiconductor. The Optical ESA eliminates the
need for an expensive gimbal assembly.
- Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) Seeker. The UHF seeker uses a novel set of body mounted
antennas that form an end-fire array. The array frees up the front end of the missile
normally reserved for an antenna and requires no expensive moving parts. The UHF seeker is
unique in that is uses the actual missile body as the antenna.
- Low Cost Cruise Missile Defense (LCCMD) Program Slides (1169KB) Script (12KB)
LTC Ed Gjermundsen DARPATech 99, June 1999
- LOW COST CRUISE MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAM STUDIES ANNOUNCED Feb.18, 1997 - Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas (contract amount: $1,076,926); Boeing North American, Anaheim, Calif. (contract amount: $182,485); and Toyon Research Corporation, Goleta, Calif. (contract amount: $848,501), will each conduct a 12-month effort.
- Low Cost Cruise Missile Defense (LCCMD)
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Updated July 25, 1999 1:39:36 PM