On target

During only its second test flight at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Pt Mugu, Calif, Boeing’s Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER) scored a devastating hit.

An F/A-18 Hornet launched the SLAM ER over 60 nautical miles from the target and then moved away to a control point over 80 nautical miles away. Upon reaching the target area, SLAM ER’s seeker and data link began operation and relayed the target scene to the pilot. While standing off at long range, the pilot, Lt Cmdr Wade Knudson, identified the target, selected the aimpoint on the target, and commanded the missile to score a direct hit.

The success is attributed to the implementation of the MITL (man-in-the-loop) control system. This allows the pilot in the control aircraft to precisely update the point of impact during the missile’s final moments of flight.