Israel develops nuke hunting robots, drones...come vit me if you vant to live
Israel is increasingly worried about the threat of a nuclear, missile-equipped Iran. So the Israeli military is working on "a high-flying, long-endurance unmanned infrared sensor" that can tell the difference between "nuclear warheads amid dozens of decoys sent to confound national missile defenses," Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome reports. "If implemented, the Israeli program will mark the first use of an unmanned platform for [n]uclear warhead hunting."
A prototype of the long-range, high-resolution target-discrimination sensor has already been tested aboard a business jet under a closely held Israeli-German program called Bluebird... [D]etails about the demonstrator remain classified...
"There's nothing comparable. Airborne versions have been used as research tools, but nothing has ever been integrated into an active national defense sensor network ... Certainly, there's never been anything like this mounted on a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle]," an international industry consultant said.
The U.S. military experimented with putting infrared sensors on a Boeing 767, an effort called the Airborne Optical Adjunct. It was quietly killed in the 1990s as the Pentagon sought to move all its missile defense sensors to space.
Picking out a warhead from sophisticated decoys is "if not the most challenging, one of the most challenging problems that missile defense people are working," GlobalSecurity.org director John Pike tells Defense News. But it's not impossible.
He pointed to the U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability program, which overcame initial bugs and now allows Aegis cruisers to coordinate their radar tracks into an integrated picture of incoming missiles.