UK MoD Seeks Exploitation of Loitering Munitions

Released on Wednesday, February 2, 2005
United Kingdom
COTS - Commercial Off-The-Shelf
FCS - Flight Control System
FCS - Future Combat Systems
IFPA - Indirect Fire Precision Attack
LCLC - Low Cost Loitering Carrier
MoD - Ministry of Defence
UK - United Kingdom
The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MoD) has made public its intention of investigating the potential use of 'Low Cost Loitering Carrier' (LCLC) or loitering munitions in the battlefield. For that purpose a research program has been launched by the UK MoD.

The LCLC weapons would be used by British sea and land forces in future scenarios. Such a weapons would be loitering over the battlefield for hours before identifying and destroying enemy targets. A range in excess of hundreds of miles (200-300 kilometers) as well as pinpoint accuracy are envisaged for future UK loitering munitions.

The first aim of LCLCs will be to engage time sensitive targets in an affordable way. Launched from sea or land platforms, LCLCs will remain on the conflict area gathering information and relaying it back via secure data links to a rear command station or forward deployed post. UK MoD pursues to get engagement capability even against moving targets. LCLC program is expected to leverage solutions developed under Indirect Fire Precision Attack (IFPA) program and vice versa.

Overall, LCLC could carry additional payloads such as advanced sensors, communications relay equipment or supplies for troops at the forefront in the battlefield. Despite Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), LCLCs would be expendable items that will not return once their mission has been finished. All weather and day/night operation mode are also highly valuable capabilities for the UK MoD.

The LCLC program will last two years and will focus on a technology demonstrator incorporating Commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) technologies to draw a low cost system available as soon as possible. To do so, SD(UK) Limited and other UK-based companies have been selected by the MoD to conduct the LCLC demonstrator program.

The sort of capabilities foreseen by the LCLC program are already under development for the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. In recent years, the US military fielded some weapon systems labeled with a certain loitering capability, but LCLC seems to go further. Ultimately, SD(UK) will demonstrate the feasibility of an advanced loitering system capable of outperforming those pursued by the FCS.


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