The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman a second full-rate production order for the FMU-167/B Hard Target Void Sensing Fuze (HTVSF). Awarded in September 2019, but disclosed in late February 2020, the award is valued at USD110 million.
Developed under a USAF/US Navy Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) initiative, and managed by the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the FMU-167/B HTVSF is an advanced all-electronic, cockpit programmable system designed to provide time-delay fuzing, multi-arming, and void-sensing functions for legacy and future penetrator weapon systems to enable the destruction of hard and deeply buried target (HDBT) sets protected by multiple layers of soil and/or reinforced concrete.
Uniquely, FMU-167/B is furnished with a void-sensing capability, which is capable of counting the number of 'voids' or critical mission spaces that are indicative of a deeply buried underground complex. By counting these voids, the FMU-167/B fuze, which is robust enough to survive a penetrator munition going through up to 15,000 psi concrete, detonate at a pre-programmed location within the structure, and defeat adversaries' high-value assets.
"From a capability perspective, void sensing is the feature that differentiates this fuze from all of its predecessors," Dave Fine, Vice President, Fuzing and Warheads at Northrop Grumman, told Jane's .
"With void sensing you overcome intelligence and target data uncertainties, which really reduce the number of weapons the warfighter needs to put on a target to defeat it. It allows the user to know when the weapon is penetrating through a hard layer - for example concrete [or] compacted soil - and when it might be in a critical mission space i.e. a void. If you happen to know where on a target the critical mission space is located, the HTVSF can get you to that exact point in the target and put the most effects on that position within the target," said Fine.
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