As part of the QUICKSINK Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, the U.S Air Force has tested modified precision-guided bombs that could provide a “torpedo-like” power from the air, which could sink ships with a single strike.
The U.S. Air Force 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron worked together with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to equip the F-15E Strike Eagle with upgraded 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM).
The JDAM is not a stand-alone weapon but a guidance kit that turns unguided gravity bombs into precision-guided weapons. It mainly consists of a tail section with aerodynamic control surfaces, a (body) strake kit, and a combined inertial guidance system and GPS guidance control unit.
On August 26th, three fighter jets from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron participated in the QUICKSINK Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. Teaming up with the AFRL, the F-15E crews “successfully demonstrated new tactics, techniques, and procedures” for engaging modified 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM on both moving and static maritime targets.
Last year, a B-52H bomber from the 49th TES dropped JDAMs in order to assess the viability of specific marine impact scenarios. The recent exercise builds on the previous test, focusing on a new method of using air-delivered weapons on ships that will change the maritime target lethality approach.
“For any large moving ship, the Air Force’s primary weapon is the 2,000-pound laser-guided GBU-24,” said Maj. Andrew Swanson, 85th TES F-15E weapons system officer. “Not only is this weapon less than ideal, but it also reduces our survivability based on how it must be employed. This munition can change all of that.”
A Navy submarine is capable of launching and destroy a ship with a single torpedo at any time, but doing so discloses the vessel’s location. The goal of the QUICKSINK JCTD is to develop a low-cost method of achieving torpedo-like seaworthy kills from the air.