As The War Zone highlighted just recently, torpedoes, such as the heavyweight Mk 48, are still king among the available weapons across the entire U.S. military when it comes to sinking enemy ships. Now, the U.S. Air Force is exploring ways it might be able to achieve the same kind of anti-ship lethality with air-launched weapons, including modified 2,000-pound class Joint Direct Attack Munition precision-guided bombs.
The Air Force announced yesterday that three F-15E Strike Eagle combat jets from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, part of the 53rd Wing based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, had taken part in an experiment to explore ways to employ modified 2,000-pound class GBU-31/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) against "both moving and static maritime targets." This particular test is part of a larger capabilities demonstration effort, dubbed Quicksink, that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is managing.
"A Navy submarine has the ability to launch and destroy a ship with a single torpedo at any time, but by launching that weapon it gives away the location of the vessel," an official Air Force news item said. "The QUICKSINK JCTD [Joint Capability Technology Demonstration] aims to develop a low-cost method of achieving torpedo-like seaworthy kills from the air."
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