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Mission

The GBU-15 bomb is an unpowered, glide weapon used to destroy high value enemy targets. It is designed to be used with F-15E and F-111F aircraft.

Features

The weapon consists of modular components that are attached to either an MK-84 or BLU-109 penetrating warhead. Each weapon has five components -- a forward guidance section, warhead adapter section, control module, airfoil components and a weapon data link.

The guidance section is attached to the nose of the weapon and contains either a television guidance system for daytime or an imaging infrared system for night or limited, adverse weather operations. A data link in the tail section sends guidance updates to the control aircraft that enables the weapon systems operator to guide the bomb by remote control to its target.

An external electrical conduit extends the length of the warhead which attaches the guidance adapter and control unit. The conduit carries electrical signals between the guidance and control sections. The umbilical receptacle passes guidance and control data between cockpit control systems of the launching aircraft and the weapon prior to launch.

The rear control section consists of four wings are in an "X"-like arrangement with trailing edge flap control surfaces for flight maneuvering. The control module contains the autopilot, which collects steering data from the guidance section and converts the information into signals that move the wing control surfaces to change the weapon's flight path.

The GBU-15 may be used in direct or indirect attack. In a direct attack, the pilot selects a target before launch, locks the weapon guidance system onto it and launches the weapon. The weapon automatically guides itself to the target, enabling the pilot to leave the area.

In an indirect attack, the weapon is guided by remote control after launch. The pilot releases the weapon and, via remote control, searches for the target. Once the target is acquired, the weapon can be locked to the target or manually guided via the date-link system.

This highly maneuverable weapon has an optimal, low-to-medium altitude delivery capability with pinpoint accuracy. It also has a standoff capability. Desert Storm F-111F pilots used GBU-15 glide bombs to seal flaming oil pipeline manifolds sabotaged by Saddam Hussein's troops.

Background

The Air Force Development Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., began developing the GBU-15 in 1974. It was a product improvement of the early guided bombs used during the Southeast Asia conflict. Flight testing of the weapon began in 1975. The GBU-15 with television guidance, completed full-scale operational test and evaluation in November 1983. In February 1985, initial operational test and evaluation was completed on the imaging infrared guidance seeker.

In December 1987, the program management responsibility for the GBU-15 weapon system transferred from the Air Force Systems Command to the Air Force Logistics Command. The commands merged to become the Air Force Materiel Command in 1992.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Air-to-surface guided glide bomb.

Contractor: Rockwell International Corp.

Length: 12 feet, 10.5 inches (3.91 meters)

Launch Weight: 2,500 pounds (1,125 kilograms)

Diameter: 18 inches (45 meters)

Wingspan: 4 feet, 11 inches (1.49 meters)

Range: Classified

Ceiling: 30,000-plus feet (9,091 meters)

Speed: Classified

Guidance System: Television or imaging infrared seeker via data link

Warheads: Mk-84 general purpose or BLU-109 penetrating bombs

Date Deployed: 1983

Unit cost: TV: $195,000; IIR: $300,000

Inventory: Classified

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