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Smart bombs are one example of precision-guided munitions (PGMs). They have traditional explosive components, but attached guidance systems— electro-optical, infrared, radio, laser, Global Positioning System (GPS), video—and movable aerodynamic devices, allowing the weapon to “fly” to its target. Smart bombs have been an increasingly heavily utilized form of air-dropped munition since their introduction in World War II. In recent conflicts, smart bombs have comprised more than two thirds of all air-dropped munitions. This entry discusses the history of smart bombs and the current technology.

History

A number of considerations promoted the development of smart bombs, including the desire to increase bombing accuracy and reduce risk to bomber crews. Additional considerations included the desire to reduce civilian casualties and collateral damage. The development of smart bombs evolved from ...

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