The 780th Test Squadron and the 40th Flight Squadron of the United States Air Force have joined forces to successfully complete the first-of-its-kind GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator loading, flight and release, press release said.
The weapon was dropped 35,000 feet (10.66 km) from An The F-15E Strike Eagle from the 96th Test Wing on July 23 and the assessment also included a ground test in which a warhead detonated in an arena equipped with explosion pressure sensors and fragment counting equipment. This helps in determining the lethality of the tested weapon and Elgin Air Force Base called this release of the weapon the biggest test for the arena, which is twice as intense as the previous biggest test in the arena.
GBU-72 is designed for both fighters and bomber and designed to address hardened deeply buried targeted challenges, the press release said. The design and effectiveness of the weapon were completed with the help of advanced techniques for modeling and simulation, even before the warhead was forged.
Recalling the advantages of using these techniques, James Culiton, manager of the GBU-72 program, said the early prototypes were manufacturing. “This helps us engage our operational test partners earlier in terms of practical engagement, validating our design and procedures in advance, while incorporating data that improves weapons,” Culliton added.
During the test, the squadrons also successfully validated a modified 2,000-pound tail kit for joint direct ammunition attack and its ability to control and navigate the weapon. According to the press release, the test series consisted of three fields, which were complex, as these were the first editions of the GBU-72 weapons.
Comparing it to previous weapons of this type, the US Air Force expects the mortality of the GBU-72 to be significantly higher. But it will probably be less than £ 30,000 GBU-57 / B Massive Ammunition puncher which the Air Force already uses. The integration and operational tests of the GBU-72 will continue until 2022, the press release said.