Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions

November 8, 2019 11:55 AM

The following is the Congressional Research Service report, Nov. 6, 2019 Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions.

The Department of Defense (DOD) defines a precision-guided munition (PGM) as a “guided weapon intended to destroy a point target and minimize collateral damage.” This includes air- and ship-launched missiles, multiple launched rockets, and guided bombs. PGMs typically use the global positioning system (GPS), laser guidance, or inertial navigation systems to improve a weapon’s accuracy to reportedly less than 3 meters (approximately 10 feet).

Recent operations have heavily relied on PGMs for counter-insurgency operations. The recent National Defense Strategy articulates a renewed focus on great power competition to combat anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems. The wide proliferation of A2/AD is likely to increase the operational utility of PGMs. In particular, peer competitors like China and Russia have developed sophisticated air defenses and anti-ship missiles that increase the risk to U.S. forces entering and operating in these regions. As a result, DOD has argued it requires longer-range precision munitions to meet these new threats.

Download the document here.

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