The development of tools for the destruction of people has always been and probably will always remain a priority for the sophisticated human mind. Fundamentally new approaches to solving the issue of a complete annihilation of the enemy have emerged. If earlier preference was given to the most powerful ammunition, today the emphasis is on precision weapons.
Indeed, why tear dozens of innocent people to pieces with heavy fragmentation air bombs if only one person needs to be eliminated and only nine grams of lead is required for it? Why fill up a hydroelectric dam with hundreds of bombs when in order to completely remove it from the system you only need one, but deliberately targeted at its base?
That is why guided precision weapons will be the thing of the future. For the sake of saving money, no one is committed to creating entirely new weapons, but only development of new modules for the existing ones.
For example, the U.S. Boeing has completed the first stage of testing of a new version of smart bombs JDAM. Modification called JDAM Extended Range has small folding wings that allow the pilot hitting targets at a distance of approximately 65 kilometers away from the aircraft carrier.
A 500-pound (226 kg) bomb, equipped with a set of JDAM, can hit targets without entering the aircraft within the range of the enemy's air defense. In addition to wings, JDAM-ER has laser sensors that enable directing a bomb by a laser beam, i.e., laser illumination of the target is still needed.
However, if before it had to be done directly from the aircraft carrier implementing an airstrike or from a commando unit located in the enemy's camp, now it is enough to fly to the target area a small-size unmanned aircraft that does not even have to have its own weapons on board. This model of the winged bomb was first demonstrated in 2008. Then the Australian army displayed interest in it, supported its development and is planning to buy it in early 2015.
A JDAM unit is a relatively inexpensive way of turning ordinary cheap unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons that are so important in today's local conflicts. To date, Boeing has produced over 238,000 units of JDAM. The cost of one unit for a 500-pound bomb is about 30 thousand dollars, depending on the configuration. This weapon is not cheap, but its accuracy and, consequently, efficiency, have significantly increased.
JDAM-ER can even be equipped with a detector that identifies, for example, the position of SAM by comparing two radar images: one from a spy plane, and the other from the dropped bomb.
JDAM was initially developed as a module, which allows creating a variety of modifications on its basis, such as adding a GPS receiver, laser seeker, various fuses, etc. Boeing experts just added wings to it, which increased the range of the bomb and actually turned a cheap weapon into a modern equivalent of the winged weapon, such as a much more expensive bomb AGM-154 JSOW.
Currently there are plans to develop fundamentally new means of destruction of enemy fighters already on the battlefield. Everyone knows tiny toy helicopters operated with an infrared beam that can soar to the ceiling and even fly outdoors, even in calm weather.
What would happen if we add a little power to this helicopter, equip it with a video camera, increase its speed, and install a simple shooting device under the fuselage in the form of a metal pipe open at both ends? Inside there would be a propellant charge and an arrow bullet with a drop-down tail. In the rear there would be a container with metal beads exactly of the same weight as a bullet.
On the command of an operator several such "helicopters" would start from a carrier or a UAV and quickly fly behind the enemy's lines, where they would go towards the infantry or choose a staff position SAM as a target. Once the targets are selected, shots would be fired from a fairly high altitude, which would guarantee their safety. Soldiers usually wear bulletproof vests, but they are always thicker in the front than in the back, and even a leg wound gets a soldier out of the battle.
Shots would be made from recoilless guns, and would have no effect on the design of a small helicopter. After making a shot, it would be able to immediately return to the base to recharge, which would only take a few minutes. Such a system could operate both day and night, that is, continuously. And while at first glance in terms of efficiency it is inferior to any modern machine gun, in fact it may be the most effective "Kalashnikov" of the 21st century.
The enemy's losses from its use would grow continuously, day after day, and soldiers would be dying in the most unusual places, which would certainly affect their morale, and consequently, their performance.