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AFRL Tests Collaborative Semi-Autonomous Bombs

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Collaborative Small
Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), on Dec. 15 at Eglin AF Base, test-flew a new technology designed to enable semi-autonomous collaboration between multiple weapon units.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft carried then dropped two Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDBs) that communicated with one another to detect targets, the U.S. Air Force said Thursday.

The CSDBs used a set of engagement rules and preloaded constraint programming to identify a detected jammer as a low-priority target, then communicated again to determine a pair of high-priority targets.

The test, however, experienced improper weapon software loading that led to an error with the weapon navigation system. The system requires updated target information for accurate engagements.

Collaborative systems perform based on predefined programming and must align with this set of rules with every semi-autonomous action.

AFRL worked with Scientific Applications and Research Associates to develop the collaborative weapons under the Air Force Golden Horde Vanguard program.

"Completion of this first mission sets the stage for further development and transition to the warfighter,” said Chris Ristich, director of AFRL's transformational capabilities office.

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