USAF seeks interim 500 lb bomb with moving target capability

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marauder2048

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 00:35

http://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article/1158108/f-35c-targeting-system-guides-weapon-to-moving-target/

The F-35 Integrated Test Force recently performed another first-of-its-kind test when the aircraft released a laser-guided bomb against a moving target.



An F-35C being tested here released specially built GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb over a controlled range at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the California desert, successfully engaging a small pickup truck March 29.



According to engineer Collin O’Fallon of the 775th Flight Test Squadron, this F-35 weapons delivery accuracy test was the first from an F-35 in the 3F software configuration, which has incorporated new release logic to enhance effectiveness against moving targets, with the objective of reducing pilot workload. O’Fallon is matrixed to the 461st Flight Test Squadron “Deadly Jesters” for the testing.

“This logic is called Lead Point Compute, which in essence, delays the release point of the weapon to ensure the weapon has the available kinematics to guide to and reach the target at its future location,” O’Fallon said.

The system evaluates the speed and direction of the target against the altitude and speed of the aircraft to determine the exact release.


My emphasis.
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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 05:30

Thanks for that 'marauder2048'. Some more good bits:
"...The GBU-12 is a proven weapon with many years of service on multiple platforms. So these tests are designed to stress the weapon platform -- the aircraft – rather than the weapon itself. For testing, the GBU-12 was built up using an explosively inert warhead, and the fuze was replaced with an inertial measurement unit to measure accelerations during employment, according to O’Fallon.

“This was really a test of the aircraft targeting system and associated weaponeering logic, and the results of this test will be used to certify this capability with a GBU-12 on the F-35.

The weaponeering logic is all the information compiled to give the pilot that one solution.

“(The pilot) doesn’t have to think about how fast the target’s going, or what direction,” O’Fallon said. “By him using this 3F capability, it’s doing all the weaponeering for him. That’s really the big thing, it’s a single-seat fighter. He’s got to do it all, so we want to do as much for him as we can.”

Although the GBU-12 was inert, it still made short work of its intended target, a small pickup truck...."

"A GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb engages a computer-driven small pickup truck during a test at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California March 29. The inert bomb was dropped from an Edwards F-35C. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin)" PHOTO: https://media.defense.gov/2017/Apr/19/2 ... 99-461.JPG
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wolfpak

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 15:46

Sounds like if this capability wasn't in the original 3F release they added it seemingly without issue. Probably not much work because of the modular nature of the software and the fact that the Sniper pod on which EOTS is based has it. Good marketing to let the new boss in town know L-M is working with him. Boeing won't be able to use the lack of this capability as a sales point for the F-18.
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Dragon029

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 16:29

Keep in mind that this isn't lead laser guidance; as far as I'm aware this isn't a new development, just the execution / testing of a (presumably) planned capability, where the F-35 will be able to determine the minimum distance to drop a bomb on a moving target.
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neptune

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 19:23

Dragon029 wrote:Keep in mind that this isn't lead laser guidance; as far as I'm aware this isn't a new development, just the execution / testing of a (presumably) planned capability, where the F-35 will be able to determine the minimum distance to drop a bomb on a moving target.


"The F-35 Integrated Test Force recently performed another first-of-its-kind test when the aircraft released a laser-guided bomb against a moving target."??
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wolfpak

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 21:44

What is the difference between lead point compute (as stated in the article above) and Lead laser guidance? You still need to put the laser on the target don't you?
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 02:22

It's always had this capability as part of the 3F plan. The new RFP for the whole "moving target" bomb deals with "high speed" targets up to 70mph. IIRC the 3F capability is up to 40mph.
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Dragon029

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 02:45

wolfpak wrote:What is the difference between lead point compute (as stated in the article above) and Lead laser guidance? You still need to put the laser on the target don't you?

Lead point compute is where the jet can factor in the bomb's time of flight, launch parameters, and the velocity of a moving ground / surface target, and from that, compute how far away they can press the pickle and have the bomb have enough range to hit the target (vs falling short because the target is moving away too fast).

Lead laser is where the EOTS or a targeting pod's laser is aimed at a point some distance ahead of a moving target, based on how fast they're moving (if the target's moving faster, the laser is aimed further ahead). Lead laser is for ensuring that the bomb hits where the truck or tank is going to be, rather than where it was a moment ago, lead point compute is for ensuring that the bomb has enough energy to get to the target in the first place.

As the article states:

According to engineer Collin O’Fallon of the 775th Flight Test Squadron, this F-35 weapons delivery accuracy test was the first from an F-35 in the 3F software configuration, which has incorporated new release logic to enhance effectiveness against moving targets, with the objective of reducing pilot workload. O’Fallon is matrixed to the 461st Flight Test Squadron “Deadly Jesters” for the testing.

“This logic is called Lead Point Compute, which in essence, delays the release point of the weapon to ensure the weapon has the available kinematics to guide to and reach the target at its future location,” O’Fallon said.

The system evaluates the speed and direction of the target against the altitude and speed of the aircraft to determine the exact release.

“The higher and faster you go, the farther you can sling the thing,” he said.


Edit: And in case you've missed the threads about what's happening; lead laser guidance was never planned for the F-35, as it didn't really exist when the F-35 program started. What that meant was that if a target was moving with enough speed, the F-35 pilot would have to manually aim the laser in front of the target, with nothing telling him how far ahead to put it, other than his experience and best guess. That supposedly wasn't good enough / suitable for new pilots, so while lead laser will be included in Block 4 (either 4.1 or with AEOTS in 4.2, I can't remember), the USAF has decided to integrate the GBU-49 laser guided bomb for Block 3F. The GBU-49 is basically just a GBU-12 with more modern avionics; the GBU-49 can detect the laser spot on the ground, see if it's moving in 3D space, and then perform its own lead-laser computation.
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