Air Force To Drop BLU-108 Anti-Armor Submunition From Sentry UAV
By Jefferson Morris
04/01/2004 10:37:22 AM
The U.S. Air Force's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Battlelab (UAVB) soon will begin test-dropping the BLU-108 anti-armor submunition from a Sentry HP unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to Lt. Col. Timothy Cook, chief of the UAVB's Combat Applica-tions Division.
"We are going to take a 12-and-a-half foot wingspan, 185-pound empty weight UAV, put a wide-area anti-armor munition on it, and we're going to kill tanks," Cook said March 31 at the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement's (IDGA) Combat UAV conference in Arlington, Va.
This week, the UAVB expects to sign the prime contract for the project with DRS Technologies, which manufactures the Sentry UAV. Textron will be the primary subcontractor. The first inert drops could take place at DRS facilities in Mineral Wells, Texas as early as next month, according to Cook.
The BLU-108 is the submunition used in the CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) built by Textron. The CBU-97 ejects 10 BLU-108s, each of which carries four skeet warheads equipped with heat-seeking sensors and small rocket motors. The CBU-97 had its operational debut during the war in Iraq (DAILY, Aug. 22, 2003).
The UAVB team has integrated the 64-pound BLU-108 with the Sentry using the lightweight MA-4B bomb rack, according to Cook. Following interface testing in Texas, the team will bring the system to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for live drops in June or July, Cook said.
There will be two testing scenarios, one in which the precise coordinates of the target are given to the UAV, and another in which the UAV is given a "kill box" in which it can attack any target it finds. The accuracy of the system should be comparable to that of a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), according to Cook.
The UAVB's mandate is to take existing hardware and weapons and integrate them with UAVs. The center is budgeted at roughly $4.5 million per year and focuses most of its attention on small UAV systems rather than large systems such as Predator or Global Hawk. The goal of all UAVB projects is to transition to a sponsor among the services.
"We have a path forward," Cook said. "All along we've realized that if [you design] an experiment or demonstration robustly so that you can make that leap to ... transition, perhaps you can attract end-user commands as customers."
Рецидивист под пристальным оком спецнадзора.
(для трижды уважаемой администрации: всё вышесказанное--сугубо моё личное скромное субьективное ХО, ни в коей мере не претендуещее на правду в последней инстанции, и основанное исключительно на моем индивидуальном восприятии.)