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19 November 2013


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Buy America has restricted our operational flexibility in many cases. I know, I know, the business of DoD is really business and not war, which is a once in a while thing, and so keeping the in-house military-industrial-congressional complex thriving is, indeed, job one.

US tacair does have some current intermediate options between cannon and a 500# JDAM or LGB.

For the Navy/Marines, a 500# JDAM or LGB with the BLU-126 warhead is an option (about 550# overall for the all-up-round[AUR]). The -126 is mostly inert material with a wee-bit of HE (27#) in the tail end near the rear fuze well. There's so little "boom" that sometimes it is hard tell if the thing went high-order. Thus, you can put 27# (plus the explosive weight of the fuze) of HE, a lower energy frag/blast pattern, and all of the usual kinetic energy near a target with JDAM or LGB accuracy.

The USAF's F-15Es, and, theoretically at least, the F-22s, have the SDB I/GBU-39 (a bit under 300# for the AUR), which has about 50# of HE in its warhead. The SDB I is a screamer and can get thru a few feet of reienforced, standard compressive strength concrete - in cases of soft targets the warhead penetration can lead to some of the explosion attenuating in the ground - no prox fuze capability to my knowledge tough Boeing is advertising a Laser SDB (I?) with an airburst capability - I don't know if this system is fielded anywhere. The utility of a bit of offset for warhead initiation is well understood for many soft targets in many operational contexts

If you want an airburst from an LGB, you'll need Raytheon's Enhanced Paveway II.

JDAM can be fitted with the DSU-33 sensor. Boeing is advertising a development project for a prox sensor capability for Laser JDAM.

To acquire Brimstone, the U.S. tacair fleets will need to integrate that triple rack and modify their targeting software but the various air HQs should conduct a serious trade study w Brimstone against the previous JCM/JAGM target set and a suitable subset of the SDB II target set.

On the Brit's ASuW test with Brimstone - the U.S. Navy should take that seriously for LCS, among others. Surface-launched Griffin and Firescout-launched APKWS are not likely to perform as well in other than a 1v1 scenario, and even then...

Finally, don't forget to add the early 1990's JAWS missile to the ancestry; JAGM is the third in the line of failed replacements for TOW & Hellfire).

Hi James

There is also Brimstone 2 which includes a range of improvements and is currently contracted by the UK


I wrote a long piece on Brimstone...


Have you read about the Lightweight Multirole Missile

The Royal Navy will arm the Wildcat with them and hopefully, it will find its way on to surface vessels. What makes it interesting is the beam riding guidance that is designed to work against low reflective targets like rubber boats that present problems for semi active laser guidance


Nice Article

I have read the piece on Brimstone the previous orator posted a link to, and it is relly intersting how it has changed over the years.
As for Brimstone 2, I really didn't know it is contracted by UK, thanks for the info.
I totally agree with David that the US fleets will have to modify their targeting software if they want to acquire it. I am currently interested in military software development, I believe it is a promising field and going to try it out with my team.
By the way, they conducted missile test in June, here is the report.

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My Photo
James Hasik is a political economist. He serves as a senior research fellow at the Center for Government Contracting in the School of Business at George Mason University, and a non-resident senior fellow in the Defense Technology program at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Since September 2001, he has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them.