The US Air Force released images of a B-1 Lancer Bomber with air to ground missile strapped to its fuselage. It is only a demo to see if the platform can mount the weapons.
The image released by the air force featured the AGM-158 JASSM cruise missile on a pylon, sitting under a Lancer long-range bomber. This is for purpose of using the platform and test how well it does arm with the weapon.
In an increasing challenge faced by the Air Force for more potent strikes. They want the Lance bomber to be certified to mount the JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles) on it. With a capacity of 36 missiles in all, 12 on weapon mounts and 24 stored in the weapons bay. This amount of lethality gives the US Forces unprecedented firepower in any theatre of conflict, reported Eurasiantimes.
Fitting the weapon on the bottom of the plane was done on a Lancer based in the 419th Flight Test Squadron under the 412th Test Wing of the USAF, in Eglin Air Force Base (AFB).
On November 20th, the designated aircraft was chosen for this specific test. Placed under the plane's fuselage is an inactive AGM-158 connected to a mount. The mount has target identification, autonomous tracking, GPS coordinate generation equipped.
A captive carry test is done to ascertain the aerodynamics and structural integrity when the missile is mounted on the plane. The next part after fitting the standoff weapon will be firing the missile in a live-fire test.
According to the US Air Force spokesperson William Russell, he said that a review of the weapons platform and the missile will have several benefits to follow. One is to keep the B-1 Bones as a capable mount for any loadout of weapons. Another is keeping the airframe up to date for more weapons to come, said the Drive.
He added that after a captive carry mission where the data is will be looked over by specialists, as recorded from actual flight data. From there live data from releasing the actual weapon is another phase.
Mounted on the pylon under the fuselage are several of six external hardpoints, place to connect the missile. These hardpoints will carry special weapons including nukes, with the emergence of the Chinese threat. It will be used for many kinds of missions that were shelved after the break up of the Soviet Union.
AGM-158 JASSM (long-range standoff weapon)
This missile is designed with a low-observable profile, long rang cruise missile that was adapted from its initial ship-killer role. It has been adapted as mountable on several platforms like the B-52, F-15, F-18, and B-2 Spirit, soon the F-35 JSF.
After the weapon was certified in 2009 and used by the Air Force. Many US allies have bought the missile like Australia, Finland, and Poland in 2014. Another variant is the AGM-158B JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range), first used in 2014 too.
The long-range missile is equipped with a 450-kg warhead armor-piercing, capable of penetrating hardened concrete and other assets to destroy them.
Initially used in two B-1 Lancer Bombers that shot 19 missiles on a Syrian chemical weapons facility that was demolished.
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