Thursday, November 30, 2023

The US Air Force tests its new 5,000-pound bunker-busting bomb GBU-72

Most often, when we talk about bunker busting bombs, we are referring to the famous 22,000 pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, sometimes called MOAB for Mother of All Bomb, and made famous for their use against cave networks in Afghanistan, as well as the 30,000-pound GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator designed to equip B-2 bombers. But these munitions are both very expensive to build and complex to implement, the MOAB being able, for example, to only be dropped from a C-130 transport plane. While the risks of having to intervene against heavily defended targets continue to grow, it became urgent for the US Air Force to develop a new munition capable of destroying heavily hardened bunkers, and which could be deployed from a combat aircraft likely to survive this environment.

This is precisely the role of the new GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator bomb, a 5,000 pound (2,268 kg) bomb equipped with an inertial and satellite JDAM guidance system, and designed to strike its target with great precision in order to destroy the best protected bunkers, and which can be implemented by an F15E Strike Eagle fighter. During a test campaign earlier this year , one of these aircraft belonging to the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, dropped this bomb for the first time from an altitude of 35,000 feet against a target clad in sensors, to assess its precision and potential damage on a highly hardened target. According to the US Air Force, this new ammunition, which must be ordered in 2022 in 125 units for $36 million, is suitable, if necessary, to strike and destroy North Korean or Iranian bunkers, in particular the installations housing ballistic missiles. of the two countries.

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The Eglin test area was lined with sensors to assess the accuracy and penetration and destruction capabilities of the BGU-72 during the test.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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