Enhanced GBU completes first Phase II drop test

Released: 31 Aug 2000

by Rick Holder
Air Armament Center Precision Strike Systems Program Office

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- The Enhanced Guided Bomb Unit-15 weapon successfully completed its first Phase II program weapon drop test with precision accuracy here recently.

An F-15 Strike Eagle launched the weapon at 25,000 feet at a speed of 530 knots (roughly 609 mph) 17.8 miles from the target located on Eglin's range B-70.

In the Phase II portion, the EGBU-15, a guided air-to-surface weapon, has received a significant upgrade in its ability to attack in all weather conditions using the Global Positioning System. The weapon can carry either a 2,000-pound MK-84 blast fragmentation warhead or a BLU-109 penetrating warhead, and can be guided by either a television or an infrared seeker.

It has a nominal standoff range of 15 nautical miles, the ability to lock-on after launch mode and high precision against critical targets.

Frank Robbins, Air Armament Center Precision Strike Systems Program Office director, is especially proud of the new capability his people have given the combat-proven weapon.

"I couldn't be more pleased with (the) test results and total performance of the EGBU-15," Robbins commented. "I challenged the team to do what we were told was impossible -- to take our most precise, vintage weapon and give it an all-weather capability practically overnight. Under the pressure and stimulation of urgent operational need, this joint government and Raytheon team designed, qualified, tested, produced and fielded 100 weapons in less than two months.

"The excitement of these results and the remarkable new capability given to our F-15 Strike Eagle aircrews drove our operational forces to ask for another 1,200 weapons within a year," said Robbins. "Neither clouds, nor smoke, nor camouflage will provide refuge to our enemies from this system.

"(The) test clearly shows that these next 1,200 weapons will have even more powerful operational capability than the first 100. My hat is off to our entire team," Robbins added.

Gen. Michael E. Ryan, Air Force chief of staff, had directed a two-phased quick-reaction enhancement program last year to provide an adverse weather capability to the GBU-15. Phase I provided the Air Force with 101 weapons within 69 days of Ryan's request.

Phase II will provide an additional 1,200 weapons since Ryan directed the enhancement Aug. 29, 1999. The Precision Strike SPO, along with their industry partner Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz., developed the new program.

The Phase II program not only produces 1,200 modified weapons with GPS-aided navigation, but also provides all data and assets necessary for fielding, supportability, training and full F-15E integration.

Weapon field modifications will take place here as well as at European and Pacific U.S. Air Force bases. Lt. Col. Michael G. Smith, a member of the Precision Strike SPO's development integrated product development team, praised the team's morale and enthusiasm.

"Successfully achieving this critical program milestone is a superb accomplishment for our closely-knit Air Force-contractor team," the colonel concluded. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)