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CBU-97/CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
BLU-108/B Submunition

This page was updated on August 30, 2012 with information provided by Textron.

The CBU-97 is a 1,000-pound class weapon containing sensor-fuzed submunitions for attacking armor. The SFW is the centerpiece of the Air Force concept of operations for engaging an adversary's main armored force in the "halt" or "hold" phase of a Major Regional Contingency, in which the USAF would disrupt and stop an attack, providing time for other combatant forces to reinforce to the theater.

The primary components of this 1,000 pound class weapon are the SUU-66/B Tactical Munitions Dispenser (TMD), 10 BLU-108/B submunitions, and 40 "hockey puck" shaped skeet infrared sensing projectiles. The weapon is designed to be employed from US Air Force tactical aircraft from altitudes between 200 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) to 20,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) at speeds between 250 to 650 knots. Each CBU-97/B can cover an area of about 500 feet by 1,200 feet. According to Textron, recent test results show that BLU-108/B submunitions are evenly distributed over the target area through the use of sequentially timed parachute deployments.

The Sensor Fuzed Weapon [SFW] is an unpowered, top attack, wide area, cluster munition, designed to achieve multiple kills per aircraft pass against enemy armor and support vehicles. After release, the TMD opens and dispenses the ten submunitions which are parachute stabilized. Each of the 10 BLU-108/B submunitions contains four armor-penetrating projectiles with infrared sensors to detect armored targets. At a preset altitude sensed by a radar altimeter, a rocket motor fires to spin the submunition and initiate an ascent. The submunition then releases its four projectiles, which are lofted over the target area. The projectile's sensors detect an infrared signature and an explosively formed penetrator fires at the heat source. If no target is detected after a period of time, the projectiles automatically detonate (self-destruct) after a preset time interval, usually on the ground, to leave limited unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the battlefield.

A Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) Program has taken the existing design and made modifications to the projectile sensor, incorporating a dual mode (active/passive IR) for better target detection; modified the warhead to enhance soft target lethality; and increased the system footprint for better target coverage. Projectiles are dispensed at a greater altitude expanding the area covered to about 800 feet by 1,600 feet. In addition, an insensitive explosive replaced the Octol used in the baseline warhead to satisfy DoD requirements for an insensitive submunition. Finally the TMD static tail has been replaced by the Wind Corrected Munition Dispenser tail kit to allow greater stand-off range.


According to Textron, the SFW is operationally effective when employed at low altitude using level or shallow angle dive deliveries and also from high altitudes up to 40,000 feet. The SFW's delivery envelope has expanded to include strategic aircraft and higher altitudes through incorporation of the WCMD. The SFW with the P3I enhancements and WCMD is designated CBU-105 D/B. The CBU-105 D/B sensor enhancements also added a second self-destruct mechanism that detects if the projectile has descended to 50 feet and not found a target. With this addition the CBU-105 is the only US weapon to meet the DOD requirement of less than 1% UXO on the battlefield.

Tactical Munition Dispenser


Weight: 927 pounds
Length: 92 inches
Diameter: 16 inches
Guidance: None
Control: None
Autopilot: None
Propulsion: None
Warhead: SUU-66/B tactical munitions dispenser
10 BLU-108/B submunitions [@ 4 projectiles]
Fuse: Integral part of dispenser
FZU-39/B proximity sensor
Aircraft 12 F-15E
4 F-16
10 A-10
30 B-1
34 B-2
16 B-52
Delivery Envelope
200 feet to 40,000 feet (above ground level)
250 knots to 650 knots
Unit Cost $360,000 - baseline
$260,000 - PEP $39,963 [$ FY90]
Inventory 500 in USAF inventory as of 01/01/1998
Current USAF objective is 5,000 as of late 1990's
[17,000 originally planned ]

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Updated August 30, 2012 with information provided by Textron.
Previously updated Saturday, January 23, 1999 12:54:45 PM - That old version of this page can be found here.