Lockheed Martin Meets Air Force Laser Guided Bomb Requirements
ARCHBALD, PA, August 13th, 2002 -- The U.S. Air Force has advised Lockheed Martin that the company now is fully qualified to build Paveway II GBU-10 and GBU-12 Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) kits. The announcement followed 50 required flight test drops from March through June at the U.S. Navy's China Lake facility in California. "Lockheed Martin's qualification to produce LGBs culminates a two-year team effort with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to create a qualified second source for this critical weapon system," said Maj. Steve Toth, Paveway II program manager at Hill AFB, where procurement decisions about these precision-guided munitions are made. Laser Guided Bombs have been used extensively in the war against terrorism.
Lockheed Martin currently is producing GBU-16 kits for the U.S. Navy. With the USAF qualification for GBU-10 and 12 kits, Lockheed Martin is qualified to produce all three variants of the Paveway II line. The Archbald facility, where the kits are made, delivered the first production kits in February 2002. Production on the Navy requirements continues through July 2003.
Air Force qualification flight tests were performed by F-15, F-16, A-10, F-117 aircraft and Navy F-18 Hornets, according to Maj. Toth. While China Lake was used as the range facility, nearby Edwards AFB and the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility in Palmdale supplied aircraft and pilots, plus mission planning, bomb "buildup" and other essential support.
Each guidance kit consists of a Computer Control Group, which is the front-end guidance system, plus an Air Foil Group, which includes the flight stability fins on the back of each Paveway II LGB.
"The kits significantly improve the accuracy of gravity weapons - often referred to as 'dumb bombs' - thereby reducing collateral damage and risks to U.S. and allied ground forces," Maj. Toth said. "Paveway GBU-16 kits are used on 1,000-lb. bombs, while GBU-10 and GBU-12 kits are used on 2,000-lb. and 500-lb. bombs respectively."
Completion of the Air Force qualification allows Lockheed Martin to pursue the international market for LGBs and Laser Guided Training Rounds (LGTRs) as the only supplier of both training and tactical laser guided systems. The Archbald business successfully developed and fielded LGTRs beginning in 1992. Since then, the Archbald plant has produced almost 25,000 units for the U.S. Navy and other customers in seven countries.