USAF seeks interim 500 lb bomb with moving target capability

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
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blindpilot

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Unread post16 Mar 2017, 04:47

squirrelshoes wrote:
ricnunes wrote:But the GBU-49 as opposed seems to be much simpler - It either works as a Paveway-Laser Guided Bomb (but with the already mentioned improved capability to "lead" a laser target) or it works like a JDAM-GPS Guided Bomb.
Being said we know that the aircraft (F-35) can send a GPS coordinate to a JDAM and that's what a bomb like the JDAM needs in order to autonomously hit the target. And the F-35 is already capable of doing this (and it doesn't even need Block 3F to be able to do it)

So why can't or couldn't the GBU-49 receive the same GPS coordinates as it happens with the JDAM (which would allow the bomb to autonomously hit the intended target)?

Could be that the current software has a known targeting mode for a given weapons station. So if the munition in left internal bay is known to be a laser guided bomb the interface for employing the weapon allows for targeting via designator, if JDAM then interface looks for GPS coordinates instead. No dynamic switching since there was no req for single dual mode munition at a given weapon station.

Sure the software could be changed so the targeting mode is selectable (and obviously this would be required for a SDB2 cluster) but then you're not within the 3F capabilities.


This is a classic example of how requirements creep and spiraling delays and costs happen. There are probably dozens of "easy patches" to bridge this back into 3F, and honestly in this case it is likely a very simple and low risk "adjustment".
BUT the break in discipline is a sneaky thing. Once broken, at least another 10`s of "easy changes" will ooze out of tiniest cracks, and out of twenty "easy" changes, one will blow up, guaranteed. The delays and the costs will happen. Schedule discipline is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Especially when the vendors will step up and fix it with no risk or delay, and minimal costs in a clean one option decision.

MHO and experience,
BP
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old_rn

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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 16:52

I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?
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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 18:03

old_rn wrote:I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?


As I understand it the 70 mph moving target etc. features have been moved to block 4. UK isn`t going IOC until Block 4 is underway. But that doesn`t mean Raytheon UK, (or Lockheed, Boeing etc. for that matter) cannot enable a 3F working interface for their products for moving targets as requested, fairly easily and cheaply, until 4 comes on line.

I do not know the actual code. It is probably classified at some level, But an example might be. The F-35 passes target info to the weapon. It(3F) may (I don`t know) include target movement(speed and direction) data. 3F may have a 0-40mph range in that data (the 70 mph capability is a relatively new capability). The Paveway IV may be able to take a null in that field, and calculate the speed with it`s own tracking algorithms, if the null is passed. All that would be necessary in that case would be to mask the speed data, until Block 4 can pass a full range of speeds. This is a totally uninformed example of what may be the issue. It is almost certainly something like this though.

The request is to have the feature at the weapon without changing 3F code, so software schedules stay on track. It`s an interim (probably all soft/firmware-ie. a labeled ROM chip) product and likely a low quantity buy to provide 3F capability until block 4 is on line.

AFAIK,
BP

PS In my example, the "interim" doesn`t mean it is a throwaway after Block 4. It could be something like "if 40 mph then null," and that will work with Block 4 when it passes 62mph, (or even 40 mph) at a later time. That`s basically what is being asked for here.
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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 20:40

blindpilot wrote:...
I do not know the actual code. It is probably classified at some level, But an example might be...
AFAIK,


As an aside. When I was with the Systems Integration Directorate at NORAD, for one project we did a similar analysis/short term interim implementation/fix at about $50,000 in less than a few months(under budget on schedule), while the $X00M major system was dragging along over budget and behind schedule. A side effect was that the major program suddenly started moving on schedule and on budget. We used different vendors, and created a fire under the....table .. of the main project vendor.

This is a standard approach in large programs.

FWW,
BP
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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 22:11

blindpilot wrote:
old_rn wrote:I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?


As I understand it the 70 mph moving target etc. features have been moved to block 4. UK isn`t going IOC until Block 4 is underway. But that doesn`t mean Raytheon UK, (or Lockheed, Boeing etc. for that matter) cannot enable a 3F working interface for their products for moving targets as requested, fairly easily and cheaply, until 4 comes on line.

I do not know the actual code. It is probably classified at some level, But an example might be. The F-35 passes target info to the weapon. It(3F) may (I don`t know) include target movement(speed and direction) data. 3F may have a 0-40mph range in that data (the 70 mph capability is a relatively new capability). The Paveway IV may be able to take a null in that field, and calculate the speed with it`s own tracking algorithms, if the null is passed. All that would be necessary in that case would be to mask the speed data, until Block 4 can pass a full range of speeds. This is a totally uninformed example of what may be the issue. It is almost certainly something like this though.

The request is to have the feature at the weapon without changing 3F code, so software schedules stay on track. It`s an interim (probably all soft/firmware-ie. a labeled ROM chip) product and likely a low quantity buy to provide 3F capability until block 4 is on line.

AFAIK,
BP

PS In my example, the "interim" doesn`t mean it is a throwaway after Block 4. It could be something like "if 40 mph then null," and that will work with Block 4 when it passes 62mph, (or even 40 mph) at a later time. That`s basically what is being asked for here.


..if it does 70mph,..then.....how about 160mph.....and given enough energy for the intercept, bombing a troop transport helicopter could lead to the computer selecting "the" available weapon per target requirements..... :wink:
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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 23:18

Quit being so deterministic; the solution set is stochastic.

What if the target speed varies? What if the road isn't straight (like a switchback)? What if the target is in an urban area? Now draw an allowable delivery envelope for the pilot on a cockpit display.
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Unread post17 Mar 2017, 23:31

old_rn wrote:I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?


Just for the F-35B. There's no stores separation data for the F-35A or C.
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Unread post18 Mar 2017, 07:53

neptune wrote:...
..if it does 70mph,..then.....how about 160mph.....and given enough energy for the intercept, bombing a troop transport helicopter could lead to the computer selecting "the" available weapon per target requirements..... :wink:

and
quicksilver wrote:Quit being so deterministic; the solution set is stochastic.

What if the target speed varies? What if the road isn't straight (like a switchback)? What if the target is in an urban area? Now draw an allowable delivery envelope for the pilot on a cockpit display.


Great examples of what I was referring to with my "requirements creep" comment!!
It`s just one more line of code! You can do that before lunch! :D :D 8)

Let`s see what the weapon vendors come up with,
BP
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Unread post18 Mar 2017, 07:55

marauder2048 wrote:
old_rn wrote:I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?


Just for the F-35B. There's no stores separation data for the F-35A or C.


Isn't the Paveway IV (using RAF naming convention) basically the same weapon as GBU-49 anyway?

At least Raytheon seeems to think so in this document "Enhanced Paveway™II DMLGB Lot 4 (Paveway™ IV-UK)":

http://www.midkiff.cz/obj/firma_produkt ... soubor.pdf

I.e. All F-35 models can carry and use them, it's the same weapon but with different naming conventions between the RAF and the USAF.
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Unread post18 Mar 2017, 11:40

Same basic physical weapon but different "brains".
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Unread post18 Mar 2017, 13:23

GBU-49 = Raytheon US, UK Paveway IV = Raytheon UK.
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Unread post18 Mar 2017, 22:29

barrelnut wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
old_rn wrote:I am confused. The Paveway IV has just been cleared for the F35, it is designed for moving targets and it is 500lb. Why not just buy those?


Just for the F-35B. There's no stores separation data for the F-35A or C.


Isn't the Paveway IV (using RAF naming convention) basically the same weapon as GBU-49 anyway?

At least Raytheon seeems to think so in this document "Enhanced Paveway™II DMLGB Lot 4 (Paveway™ IV-UK)":

http://www.midkiff.cz/obj/firma_produkt ... soubor.pdf

I.e. All F-35 models can carry and use them, it's the same weapon but with different naming conventions between the RAF and the USAF.


GBU-49 is EGBU-12. As the document notes, Paveway IV has different mass and aero properties
which is why there had to be a separate stores separation campaign to qualify Paveway IV on the F-35B.
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Unread post21 Mar 2017, 22:18

It seems afterall that the Block 3F F-35s will indeed support dual-mode Laser/GPS weapons as it can be read in the following article (about Paveway IV testing):

http://www.airforce-technology.com/news ... ii-5767423

USAF completes testing of Paveway IV bomb aboard F-35B Lightning II

The US Air Force's (USAF) 461st Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) has recently completed testing of Paveway IV precision-guided bomb aboard a US Marine Corps short takeoff / vertical landing variant of F-35B Lightning II.

Two weapon delivery accuracy tests with Paveway IV were conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and over Edwards Air Force Base’s Precision Impact Range Area.

The first test was a laser-mode employment of the guided bomb against a tank on the ground and the second test included the bomb’s GPS/inertial navigation employment against a tank.

F-35 weapon integration engineer Collin O’Fallon said: “The two Paveway IV live-fires represent full end-to-end weapon-aircraft integration tests for these two significant use cases of this weapon's employment modes...


Thanks to Zerion for posting the article above in the "F-35B aces first release of a UK Paveway IV Bomb" thread.
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Unread post22 Mar 2017, 01:34

I do not think that a baseline Paveway IV has 70mph moving target capability.
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Unread post22 Mar 2017, 02:31

"In the second production lot, the existing GPS guidance unit was improved. In order for the Paveway IV to better attack moving targets, up to 70mph, a number of software improvements have been progressively implemented with trials completed in 2014. Enhanced anti-GPS jamming capability has also been developed."
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