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the parent aircraft. Powered by a single Teledyne
CAE J402 turbojet, the AGM-158A can attain high
subsonic speeds and hit targets up to 370 km (230
miles) away with its WDU-42/B 450 kg (1000 lb)
Terminal guidance is by infrared homing
automatic target recognition, which compares
what the seeker sees against a preset image.
The mid-course navigation system features Anti-
Jam Global Positioning System (AJGPS) to defeat
adversary GPS jamming and a ring laser gyro inertial
In addition to Australia and the USAF, the AGM-158
has also been ordered by Finland and Poland, with
integration on Finnish F/A-18 Hornets and Polish
Lockheed-Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons expected to
wrap up in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The RAAF’s Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning
II Joint Strike will also be able to use the JASSM
however these will not be able to be carried
internally as they will not fit inside the weapons bay,
necessitating external carriage. This comes with the
penalty of losing the F-35’s stealth characteristics
against radar detection.
SMALL DIAMETER BOMB
In April 2016 the U.S . Defense Security Cooperation
Agency (DSCA) notified Congress that the State
Department has approved a possible Foreign Military
Sale to Australia for “up to 2,950” Boeing GBU-39
Small Diameter Bomb Increment I (SDB I) and
associated equipment, training, and support, with an
estimated cost of up to US $ 386 million (AU$509.6
The SDB is a 250 lb (110 kg) precision-guided
glide bomb that is intended to provide aircraft with
the ability to carry a higher number of more accurate
bombs. The smaller warhead size, coupled with
increased accuracy makes it an effective weapon with
less potential for collateral damage, and the weapon
has been successfully used in the air campaign in
Iraq and Syria against the so-called Islamic State.
Although the DSCA notification did not mention
which RAAF platform will be carrying the SDB, the
weapon will also be cleared for the F-35 Block 4
software expected in 2022, along with current assets.
The SDB is guided by a GPS-aided inertial
navigation system to attack stationary targets
such as fuel depots, bunkers and buildings.
According to published figures, circular error
probable (CEP) of the SDB is 5-8 metres (16–26
ft), and is reduced by updating differential GPS
offsets prior to weapon release transmitted by
Link 16 to SDB-equipped aircraft.
Boeing describes as “very effective” the SDB’s 93
kg (206 lb) multipurpose penetrating and blast-and-
fragmentation warhead, giving it the same penetration
capabilities as a 2000lb BLU-109 bomb thanks to its
length to diameter ratio, smart fuse and nose shape.
According to Boeing, the SDB has
demonstrated the ability to penetrate more than
3 feet (0.91 m) of steel reinforced concrete.
The smart, cockpit selectable electronic fuse
air burst and delayed options, giving the user
greater flexibility in target selection.
Pop-up “Diamondback” wings fitted on the SDB
deploy after release, increasing the weapon’s glide
time and therefore the maximum range, which is listed
as “more than 60 nautical miles (111 kilometres)”.
Since the first SDB I was delivered in 2006,
several sub-variants have been developed. Boeing
has also developed the Focused Lethality Munition
(FLM), which has a lightweight composite casing
and a focused-blast explosive to further reduce the
likelihood of collateral damage during pinpoint strikes
in urban areas.
Other variants of the SDB I being developed
include one with a home-on-GPS jam (HOG-J)
seeker designed to track and attack sources of
electronic warfare jamming directed to disrupt
the munitions' guidance, as well as an Alternative
Warhead designed to achieve area effects without
leaving behind unexploded ordnance by the use of
multiple penetrating projectiles instead of explosive
Meanwhile, Raytheon has recently won a contract
to produce the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb
II, which features a tri-mode seeker (radar, infrared
homing, and semi-active laser guidance) that enables
it to attack moving targets even in bad weather.
The SDB II will be integrated on both the Boeing
Super Hornet as well as the F-35 (also during Block
4 software release), which together with the ability to
strike a moving target, would make it a very attractive
proposition for the RAAF’s Super Hornets, Growlers
Depending on the successful fielding of this
weapon by the Americans, we could possibly see
Australia’s acquisition of the SDB I fall short of the
2950 approved, and attention switch to the more
flexible SDB II instead.
The Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon
(JSOW) is the product of a joint venture between
the U.S . Navy and USAF to deploy a standardised
medium range unpowered precision-guided weapon
for engagement of defended targets from outside the
range of standard anti-aircraft defences. The USAF
has since left the program, leaving the Navy and
Marines as the development partners.
The JSOW family are 450 kilogram (1,000 lb) class
weapons that provide standoff capabilities from up to
111km (60 nmi) when launched from high altitude. It
employs a tightly coupled GPS/INS for navigation,
and is capable of day/night and adverse weather
operations. Terminal guidance is via GPS/INS for the
AGM-154A, while the AGM-154C uses an infrared
seeker for terminal guidance.
The RAAF had initially acquired the AGM-154C
with its BROACH warhead for its Super Hornets as
its primary standoff weapon under Project AIR 5349
Phase 2. The BROACH is a two-stage warhead
Super Hornet carrying AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapon on transit to
Woomera Test Range, South Australia. Credit: CoA / Ben Nunan
30/01/2017 6:40 PM
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