Image of SBD II courtesy of Raytheon
A less recognized proposed budget increase can be seen with the two most important ammunition — the Hellfire Missiles and Small Diameter Bomb II. The Fire is a strong expansion of the use of helicopters and some of his regular applications to the armament of the Navy’s Littoral combat ship and the Army’s Short Range Air defence arm Stryker vehicles with vertically-launched, against the sky Hellfires.
The Small Diameter Bomb II, an air-dropped weapon of a new generation precision targeting and attack technology, is now more fully integrated to F-35s and other planes. The SBD II brings integrated viewfinder systems are semi-active laser technology, millimeter wave guidance, RF guidance and ir heat-seeking sensor aimed. The SBD II is also capable of being of the “tracking” moving targets, changing course in flight and to achieve the targets at distances to 40 km. In development for several years, the SBD II is a fast-entering a new phase of testing, the beginning of the production and integration of various aircraft.
The Pentagon 2020 budget request asks for more than 3,000 more Hellfires and $200 million more than last year; the request also asks for 7,000 more Small Diameter Bomb IIs compared to last year.
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Extra Hellfire used to be a significant strategic and tactical change for the military service. Adding Hellfires Navy Littoral Combat Ships, the ship makes a lot more deadly at shorter and medium distances. With her guidance technologies, and the range, it brings a strong counter-air dimension to both ship defense and ship attack. Hellfires could be fired at enemy drones, helicopters and low-flying aircraft in maritime environments. Of course, this could defend against, delay, and counter-attacks, but it can also focus on the enemy sub-hunting helicopters, unmanned aerial ships and sonobuoy helicopters drop. It is a medium-range weapon that brings offensive attack capabilities, expand the LCS’ lower range the deck-mounted guns. It gives the LCS, and enhanced stand-off range for land attack at medium distances and also strengthens a blue water combat capability.
On the land, by which vertically-fired counter drone weapons to Stryker vehicles, is a significant added war function. Short Range Air defence, or SHORAD, all is the involvement of a large number of Strykers, bringing back the Cold War emphasized the need for medium-range counter-air. This not only gives a Stryker the ability to track and destroy enemy drone attacks, but also makes it possible to counter helicopter attacks and even trapping ability of some incoming enemy munitions. As a senior leader put it on Warrior Maven, land combat, air and missile defense “atrophied” during the 15-years of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Also, as part of this, there are also two large often discussed trends. The first is that, given the persistent size of the attacks on ISIS in the past few years, there has been a general ammunition stock shortage. For example, in recent years the air force has made rapid movements to the increase of the stock of laser-guided missiles, 2.75 inch Hydra Advanced Precision Weapons Kill System. Second, the air force, in particular, is now making a huge push to the modernisation of its arsenal of air-dropped bombs with many of these fall under the R&D proposed increase. A recent Mitchell Institute study found that, despite the well-document tremendous improvements in the bomb-guidance technology, precision and sense of purpose bomb body itself have not seen a proportionate level of modernization. As a result, the Air Force Research Lab is now fast-tracking a handful of new air-dropped arms to its new “variable yield” weapons, and new large-penetrating “bunker-buster bombs.”
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