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Usually the term is used in a defensive suite. Hard-kill weapons are those which physically interact with the target, soft-kill weapons are those which do something else to defeat the target without actually harming it.
For example, in the realm of armored vehicle defense, an Active Protection System can come in either hard-kill or soft-kill variants. Israel and Russia both market hard-kill products, which use sensors to detect an incoming round and then fires an 'interceptor' round to destroy it before it hits the vehicle. The US currently does not use such a technology on its armoured vehicles, but it is very common in air defense roles particularly on warships where a surface-to-air missile or cannon would be used to destroy an incoming anti-ship missile.
Soft-kill systems generally work by confusing the incoming round's targeting system. This can be done by way of smoke in the case of optically-guided weapons, or by jammers or decoys in the case of electro-optical or electronically guided weapons. The weapon will still be live, and will still blow up whatever it hits, but without the ability to aim, the platform using the soft-kill system will be fine. Most US vehicles will have smoke launchers, a few such as USMC M1 tanks have electronic decoys. Most aircraft will have jammers and decoys, as will ships.
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 04:23:06 +0400
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