Low-Collateral Damage Weapon Tested

Lockheed Martin has begun drop tests of its SCALPEL low-collateral-damage munition, the company announced May 27. Three inert SCALPELs were released by two AV-8B Harriers during a recent flight test at the Navy’s China Lake test range in California, hitting their marks. The next phase of flights will demonstrate warhead lethality, the company said. SCALPEL is essentially a weaponized version of the company’s enhanced laser guided training round with improved guidance and a small warhead. It is envisioned as an affordable option for close air support roles, especially in urban areas where it is crucial to hit targets precisely and avoid collateral effects. Medium- and large-sized unmanned aerial vehicles like the MQ-1 Predator could carry it as well as manned aircraft like the USAF F-16 and Navy/Marine Corps F/A-18 and AV-8B, according to Lockheed Martin.