US Air Force has tested three unarmed AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles (ACLM) from a B-52H bomber.
The B-52H aircrews departed Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, for the Utah Test and Training Range, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, and launched the unarmed ALCMs during three separate sorties, US Air Force Material Command announced in a statement Thursday.
The AGM-86B is designed to deliver a nuclear payload on target, destroying it on impact. As a standoff weapon, the ALCM can be launched from outside the combat area, allowing aircrews to strike distant targets with a high degree of accuracy without exposing themselves to potentially deadly enemy fire.
A B-52H can carry six ALCMs on each of the two externally-mounted pylons and eight internally on a rotary launcher, giving the B-52H a maximum capacity of 20 missiles.
The ALCM sustainment program is managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and the tests were conducted under Air Force Global Strike Command’s Nuclear Weapon System Evaluation Program, part of the Air Force’s ongoing effort to test weapons systems in training missions.
The integrated test team also included personnel, assets and aircraft from AFGSC's 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, its 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and Air Combat Command's 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida.
The Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) weapon is being developed to replace the ALCM, which the Air Force expects to start fielding by 2030.
Currently in source selection, up to two LRSO contracts are expected to be awarded in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
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Boeings Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to replace the nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) completed its first key review with the U S Air Force. The review validated program technical requirements prior to the design and development phase of Americas next intercontinental ballistic missile system, a Boeing release said
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been awarded a $900 million contract each for the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon's technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) acquisition phase, a US DoD release said. The contract supports replacement of the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile
The US military has successfully dropped eight PDU-5/B leaflet bombs from B-52 Stratofortress bombers to test its ability to drop the bomb from its external hardpoints. The 419th Flight Test Squadron recently completed two successful sorties where a B-52 released eight PDU-5/B leaflet bombs over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range and eight more over the Precision Impact Range Area on Edwards Air Force Base, USAF said in a statement Wednesday
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