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Subject: Time for a new Copperhead?
reefdiver    8/23/2006 10:55:34 AM
Given that technology has improved, and small laser guided rockets such as the 70mm APKWS and VSM are being developed - should/could a new version of the laser guided Copperhead be developed? It would seem this time around it should cost no more than Excaliber - which is having problems. I seem to recall Copperhead being more precise than Excaliber. But is a laser-held-on-target even still desireable for artillery?
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flamingknives    RE:Time for a new Copperhead?   8/23/2006 3:59:07 PM
It's a bit harder making seekers for a gun-launched weapon - over 10,000g of setback is a pain in the backside.
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WinsettZ    RE:Time for a new Copperhead?   8/23/2006 4:04:14 PM
Isn't that true with all of the electronics and mechanicals in an artillery shell?
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Sabre    RE:Time for a new Copperhead?   8/23/2006 4:38:12 PM
What is the advantage of laser vs. GPS target location? For a stationary target, not much. Perhaps the laser targetting will be slightly more accurate, but is that accuracy worth it? The disadvantage of a laser-guided projectile is that you need a target designator, which don't have a widespread basis of issue, especially when compared to GPS systems, and oh by the way that designator may need to be synched up with the firing battery (depending on if they want to keep the PRF code) along with a number of other calculations (such as gun target line compared to observer to target line, so that the laser guided weapon knows which end of the laser energy beam to hit). This gets tricky, especially compared to the brutal simplicity of a GPS grid. A moving target obviously calls for a laser guided weapon, but by the time you get a Copperhead call for fire in to some batteries, that moving target will be on top of you... still no excuse, but we just haven't needed to hit many moving targets in the most recent conflict, so I don't see money being spent on upgrading the copperhead.
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Carl S    RE:Time for a new Copperhead?   8/24/2006 11:13:04 AM
I was thinking yesterday that a signal homing round would have some utility. Maybe tune it to guide on the electromagnetic radiation created by a vehicals electrical system. Ordinarily a traditional battalion six on a AFV plt is not going to get more than one mission kill. If this works then yet another complication is added to the battlefield.
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Sabre    RE:Time for a new Copperhead?   8/24/2006 11:58:16 PM
That IS a good idea, Carl. I wonder why that hasn't been done already? (besides the HARM and it's ilk, designed for air defense suppression.)
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neutralizer       8/25/2006 4:08:14 AM

The French recently ordered 155mm Krasnopol from the Russians so they obviously think there's some value.  Of course Kras has the same sort of range limit as Copperhead.

The problem with these shells is that they can't be used in volleys, the observer has to control each in turn.  However, they have the advantage that they can deal with moving targets (or changing to a better target at the last moment.

The problem with electronic homing is that frequencies are agile and radios (or even multi-radio vehicles) aren't continuously transmitting.


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flamingknives       8/25/2006 12:42:55 PM
Plus, the electromagnetic signal given out by an armoured vehicle is pretty weak, unless its chatting away on high power radio. Which might prove a bit of a problem for all this networked capability stuff.
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reefdiver       8/25/2006 2:40:32 PM

I somewhat see the point about the apparent obsolence of the Copperhead, but there are still laser guided bombs, and artillery may be more readily available than a bomb truck and can definitely stay on station longer. Additionally, precision artillery is perhaps more "right sized" for urban combat - which is a trend seen in the laser guided Viper Strike, the SDB, the VSM etc.  My point was that today's technology might be able to yield a cheaper version of the Copperhead. The Copperheads accuracy - something like 3 meters (tell me if I didn't recall this correctly) - is still better than the Excalibur's 10meter's.

On another note - the idea of  artillery homing on vehicle electrical emissions (alternators, electronics or even engine noise signatures etc) seems interesting, but I'm more surprised there hasn't been talk of an artillery shell that in its terminal phase would lock on vehicle IR signatures. Or has there been talk of launching a BAT/Skeet submunition from artillery?

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Yimmy       8/25/2006 2:56:45 PM
I don't think 10m's or 3m's makes any real difference when your talking 155mm shells.

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reefdiver       8/25/2006 9:46:34 PM

"I don't think 10m's or 3m's makes any real difference when your talking 155mm shells."

- Good point

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