A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle demonstrated maritime GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition release over the Gulf of Mexico recently.
The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory to equip the F-15E Strike Eagle with modified 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The goal of the test was to validate a new way to employ air-delivered munitions on ships, the service said in a release on Monday.
“For any large moving ship, the Air Force’s primary weapon is the 2,000-pound laser guided GBU-24,” said Maj. Andrew Swanson, 85th TES F-15E weapons system officer. “Not only is this weapon less than ideal, it also reduces our survivability based on how it must be employed. This munition can change all of that.”
A Navy submarine has the ability to launch and destroy a ship with a single torpedo, but by launching the weapon it gives away the location of the vessel. This type of demonstration aims to develop a low-cost method of achieving torpedo-like seaworthy kills from the air.
This test builds on a previous 53rd Wing test conducted last year. A 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron B-52H Stratofortress dropped JDAMs in order to assess the viability of specific maritime impact conditions.