The Air Force is planning to transform airlift planes to hold a massive number of explosives, to transform these humble airlifters into potent weapons platforms.
Making a cargo plane into some potent weapons platforms is low cost, without a need for expensive modification by using it as a weapon truck that carries ordnance and munitions. It will find targets and drop it to give the enemy a strong blast, reported in Defense News.
Air frames to be used for this conversion will be the C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III for the generous space wherein can hold more enough ordnance to make a big impression and airdropping munitions in a massive way.
According to Maj. Gen. Clint Hinote, there have been two tests that worked with palletized munitions that were dropped from a C-130 and C-17, testing suitable the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability cell on the planes.
Last May 27, those concerned with the project were at an event in the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Hinote added that all the particulars about designing the prototype and deployment were in discussions.
How do Palletized munitions work?
According to The Drive, the weapon is a collection of munitions which is attached to what is a small pallet that direct all the contents in the pallet with tracking information to guide them to the target. All the releasing and targeting info are done by the smart pallet. All the air-lifter has to do is release the smart pallet, the plane gets out while the pallet weapon will attack from a distance.
Hinote said this is maximizing how much can be brought to bear on the target which is better since it can hit a lot with a long-range attack that hits hard. He added that more bombers might be needed, but there are better ways to deliver more packages. Deploying air-lifter provide more cost-effective solutions that packs more punch than relying on traditional methods.
Palletized Munitions Demo
On Jan.28, a demo was done to show how the technology works using an MC-130J that dropped three of the simulated palletized munitions on the Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.
According to the Air Force Research Laboratory, the packaged munitions were placed in Combat Expendable Platforms (CEPs) which release through a roller system mention in a May 27 report.
Aircrews released at about five of the CEPs with mock munitions that were as heavy with four Cargo Launch Expendable Air Vehicles and Extended Range (CLEAVERs) that were dropped in several altitudes to test the equipment, as described in Breaking Defense. The weapon packages were able to destroy stationary and moving targets.
Designers of the palletized munitions want to get more sophisticated simulated munitions and finally weapon platforms that includes a warhead and terminal self-propelled system.
One question is what asset the Air Force will control and if will it be an attack jet or a bomber.
Hinote added,"Some kind of extremely streamlined command and control is going to be necessary, or else you must have an integrator somewhere."
He also mentioned that the air force is not too keen on using palletized munitions that makes it twice as harder to get the technology. He said that is not that hard to develop the advanced pallet based weapons.
The concept of using airlift planes as cheap platforms and weapons trucks will be something to watch out for.