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CBU-78 Gator

The CBU-78 Gator is a tri-Service weapon featuring anti-vehicle and antipersonnel land mines used adjacent to enemy forces to disrupt or deny use of selected areas. The 500 pound CBU-78 contains 45 antitank and 15 antipersonnel mines. These mines can be detonated by target sensors (magnetic field for antitank and trip line for antipersonnel) or by a disturbance- antidisturbance device. They also have a backup self-destruct time set before aircraft launch. During Desert Storm the Navy and the Marine Corps dropped 209 CBU-78s.

The Gator mine system provides a means to emplace minefields on the ground rapidly using high-speed tactical aircraft. The minefields are used for area denial, diversion of moving ground forces, or to immobilize targets to supplement other direct attack weapons.

Gator consists of two companion systems. The Air Force CBU-89/B is a 1000-pound class cluster weapon using the SUU-64/B Tactical Munitions Dispenser (TMD). The TMD is the same general configuration used for the CBU-87/B Combined Effects Munition. This commonality allows for high-rate, low-cost production of the dispenser. The Navy CBU-78/B is a 500-pound class cluster weapon that uses the Mk7 Rockeye dispenser. Rockeye has been in high-rate production for many years; the Mk7 dispenser is also a low-cost item.

Both systems contain a mix of BLU-91 /B antitank (AT) and BLU-92/B antipersonnel (AP) mines -- 72 AT and 22 AP for the CBU-89/B; 45 AT and 15 AP for the CBU-78/B. Commonality of mines for both systems also contributes to high-rate, low-cost production. The BLU-91 /B AT mine is the heart of the Gator system. Microelectronics in each mine detect targets, discriminate armored vehicles, and detonate the mine when the target reaches the most vulnerable approach point. A Misznay-Schardin explosive charge defeats the belly armor of most vehicles. The BLU-92/B AP mine serves to discourage minefield clearing. Upon activation, the AP mine explosion sends high-velocity fragments in a horizontal plane over a wide area.

Both mines have a programmable self-destruct feature which permits the battlefield commander to control the timing of a counterattack or defensive maneuver. The self-destruct time is set just prior to aircraft takeoff using a simple selector switch on the dispenser. This feature permits a high degree of tactical flexibility during combat operations.

The size of the Gator minefield is determined by the opening height of the dispenser. After dispenser opening, the mines are self-dispersed using aerodynamic forces. The mine pattern on the ground is directly proportional to opening altitude, which is controlled by either the dispenser electromechanical faze or an optional proximity sensor.

Aerojet Ordnance Company (AOC) is the system integration prime contractor for Gator. All elements of the system are either procured by Aerojet or furnished by the US Government. The company is responsible for total system performance, including live testing. Each month three Gator systems are randomly selected from the production line and flight tested. Aerojet Ordnance Company warrants system performance for five years, assuring Gator reliability.


Weight: 490 pounds
Length:85 inches
Diameter: 13 inches
Guidance: None
Control: None
Autopilot: None
Propulsion: None
Warhead: 45 BLU-91 + 15 BLU-92

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Updated Thursday, December 31, 1998 5:45:27 PM