U.S. seeks smaller high-tech weaponry

May 31, 2011 at 8:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- A new age of warfare is dawning with the Pentagon seeking weapons that are both cheaper and smaller, military officials and defense contractors say.

Clandestine laboratories across the United States are placing a priority on developing small 'smart bombs' and microscopic crystals to hit enemy targets, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Brad Beach, who coordinates the Marines' drone technology, said the Pentagon needs weaponry that is smaller.

"There are a lot of weapons in the military's arsenal," Beach said. "But what we don't have is something small."

The U.S. Marines already have spy drones with high-powered cameras but drones can't destroy what they discover. Cody Tretschok of Raytheon Co. in California said it can take as long as an hour for soldiers to call in an airstrike after drones spot a target.

"The time lapse is too great," Tretschok said.

He is heading the effort at Raytheon to develop a 13-pound 'smart bomb' steered by a GPS-guided system.

The 'smart bomb' can be slung under a spy plane's wing, dropped to a specific point using GPS coordinates and blast "soft" targets located 15,000 feet below.

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