Smart Weapons: Trends and Capabilities

  • A. R. Newbery
Part of the RUSI Defence Studies book series (RUSIDS)


The term ‘smart weapons’ was first coined in the early 1970s when it was used by the USAF to distinguish ‘smart’ laser and TV guided munitions from ‘dumb’ bombs. Since that time the term has been used more widely, and applied to almost any weapon with some degree of autonomous guidance or ‘intelligence’. In particular, ‘smart’ or even ‘brilliant’, has been used to describe weapons which can acquire and attack targets with the minimum of external support. This class of weapons has become increasingly important over the last ten years, and a correspondingly large slice of the defence budget (particularly in the US) has been devoted to their development.


Ground Target Armoured Vehicle Terminal Guidance Autonomous Guidance Explosively Form Projectile 
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Copyright information

© Royal United Services Institute 1989

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  • A. R. Newbery

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