Tag Archives: Laser-guided bomb

Take A Seat In the Cockpit Of A U.S. B-52 Bomber As It Drops GBU-31 “Bunker Buster” Bombs On ISIS Targets In Mosul

Rare Insight Into The Operations Of The B-52s.

The venerable U.S. Air Force B-52 Buffs have been supporting the air war on ISIS since April 2016. They Stratofortress strategic bombers, based at Al Udeid, Qatar, launched their first air strike against a Daesh weapons storage facility in Iraq on Apr. 18, 2016.

As already highlighted in a previous article, the USAF B-52s have mainly flown Close Air Support and Air Interdiction mainly delivering two types of JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions): the 500-lb laser-guided GBU-54s and the 2,000-lb GPS-guided GBU-31V3 “bunker busters” loaded onto the Heavy Stores Adaptor Beam pylons.

The typical loadout includes 3x GBU-31s and 8x GBU-54s along with PGMs carried inside the bomb bay of the B-52H Stratofortress. With the 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade the Buffs can carry up to 16 external laser JDAMs (8 per pylon) as well as 8 internal J-series weapons mounted on a conventional rotary launcher: a mix of PGMs that gives the Buffs the ability to deliver attack both stationary and moving ground targets. In particular, the GBU-54s, that combines 500-lb Mk-82 warhead and the precision strike capability delivered by its dual Laser/GPS mode guidance system can be used against targets with reduced collateral damage.

For hardened targets or concrete shelters, the weapons of choice is the GBU-31s.The JDAM is a GPS aided inertially guided bomb. The Guidance and Control Unit (GCU) containing a HG1700 RLG, GEM-III GPS receiver and computer package is installed inside the bomb tailkit. The GCU is used on the bunker busting 2,000-lb class BLU-109/B forged steel penetrator warhead.

The GBU-31s are assembled at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, by airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s Munitions Flight. Considered that the base

The following video provides a really interesting point of view: it shows a high-altitude attack on a target in western Mosul (according to @obretix), as seen from the cockpit of a B-52 of the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron on May 23, 2017. The detonation of the bombs as they hit the ground appears to be pretty huge.

H/T @obretix for the heads-up

 

F-35B successfully completed initial tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons

UK F-35B has conducted first tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.

A British test team, has successfully completed initial trials with ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles and Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) on the F-35B, the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, at NAS Patuxent River, US.

“Dummy” weapons (identical in shape and weight to the original ones) were tested during 9 flights in different configurations of both weapons types on two F-35Bs, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF.

According to the team, which included personnel from BAE Systems, “the initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.”

Such tests are the first step towards full interoperability of the two weapons, already used by the Royal Air Force on its existing fleet, with the F-35B, destined to enter in UK’s active service, with both the RAF and Royal Navy by 2018.

As already highlighted in the past, whilst carrying significant payload on external wing pylons makes the JSF more “convincing” as a multi-role platform, it makes the plane much less stealthy as well.

Image credit: BAE Systems

 

Hornet Ball 2014: the best naval aviation video of the year

Once again, Hornet Ball is the best naval aviation video of the year.

The Hornet Ball (Strike Fighter Ball Pacific) is an annual event consisting of all the West coast Naval F/A-18C Legacy Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons, their pilots and guests.

Each year the event features a video, produced by “Wingnut”, a Hornet pilot himself, compiled from all the squadrons’ last year of flying in both combat and training missions: catapult launches, trap landings, aerobatics, dogfighting against Su-30s and Mig-29s, live firing of air-to-air missiles, HARM anti-radion missiles, LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs), cluster bombs, low level flying in the desert, ATFLIR  (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared) pod clips, and much more.

Here’s the Hornet Ball 2013.

H/T Tom Demerly and Al Clark for the heads-up

 

Watch an ISIS compound be wiped out through an F-15E Strike Eagle’s SNIPER advanced targeting pod

An interesting point of view: from an F-15E Strike Eagle Advanced Targeting Pod

Designated AN/AAQ-33, the Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP), equips several U.S. and foreign attack planes including the B-1B “Lancer” and the F-15E Strike Eagle.

The pod, equipped with a Laser designator used to guide LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) and a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) and CCD TV camera,  is used for identification of targets (both on the ground and airborne ones), tracking, coordinate generation, and guidance.

F-15E Sniper

Although some videos recorded through the Sniper ATP are available online, here’s one released by the Pentagon showing an attack on an ISIL Compound near Kobani, Syria.

Blast aside, the symbology that appears in the ATP footage is interesting: target aside, there are a lot of symbols that we know nothing about, a result of the so-called “sensor fusion,” the combination of sensory data derived from the plane and other assets’ data sources.

 

RAF Tornado GR4 attack planes perform first strike mission in Iraq (but don’t drop any bomb on ISIS)

Two Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s performed a mission over Iraq. Although they carried some Laser Guided Bombs, the two British attack planes didn’t use them, as they did not find suitable targets.

On Sept. 27, two RAF Tornado GR4s, deployed at Akrotiri airbase, in Cyprus, performed an armed reconnaissance mission in company with other planes from the international coalition, over Iraq.

Tornado Shader

Although the British Parliament has approved an attack role for the 6 “Tonkas” currently committed to Operation Shader and limited until yesterday to the reconnaissance role, the two attack jets which flew over Iraq earlier today did not drop any bomb on ground targets, as no “appropriate target” was identified.

The RAF Tornado jets, supported by a Voyager tanker, carried three Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) and a Litening III pod that enabled the aircraft to gather intelligence that, according to the UK MoD “will be invaluable to the Iraqi authorities and their coalition partners in developing the best possible understanding of ISIL’s disposition and help acquire potential targets for future operations, either by aircraft or Iraqi ground forces.”

Tornado Shader Paveway

Image credit: RAF / Crown Copyright, Corporal Mike Jones/MOD