CONTENT PREVIEW
Weapons

USAF seeks next-generation area-attack weapon to replace cluster munitions

26 February 2018

The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a request for information (RFI) for the development of a next-generation area attack weapon to replace the cluster munitions that it is obligated to retire.

The USAF currently employs a range of cluster munitions from its portfolio of ground-attack and bomber aircraft, including the B-52H pictured. It is developing a next-generation area attack weapon so that it can retire these munitions. (US Air Force)The USAF currently employs a range of cluster munitions from its portfolio of ground-attack and bomber aircraft, including the B-52H pictured. It is developing a next-generation area attack weapon so that it can retire these munitions. (US Air Force)

The RFI, which was posted in late February, has been issued to determine the technical capability and qualifications of industry to meet a need to produce Bomb Live Unit (BLU)-136/B warheads for the US government and potentially Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

The BLU-136/B was previously designated Next Generation Area Attack Weapon Increment II (NGAAW II), and is being developed to meet the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Policy. This policy was to see cluster munitions removed from the US inventory by 2019, but this will now only happen once the replacement systems become operational.

As noted in the RFI, the USAF’s expectation is that the annual production orders for the BLU-136/B will range from 250-1500 per year for four years (procurement numbers could vary by year and the years of production could expand).

While the warhead is not included in the RFI, the USAF notification refers to “fragmentation packs” for the 2,000 lb-class munition. These packs are designed to shower metal fragments across a wide area to destroy large formations of enemy forces in the open.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact





(234 of 351 words)
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT