HomeNews

F-35C targeting system guides weapon to moving target

A GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb engages a computer-driven small pickup truck during a test at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. The inert bomb was dropped from an Edwards F-35C. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

A GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb engages a computer-driven small pickup truck during a test at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California March 29. The inert bomb was dropped from an Edwards F-35C. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

A GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb is about to strike a computer-driven small pickup truck during a test at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. The inert bomb was dropped from an Edwards F-35C. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

A GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb is about to strike a computer-driven small pickup truck during a test at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. The inert bomb was dropped from an Edwards F-35C. (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

An F-35C from the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, releases a GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb March 29. The inert bomb tracked a moving pickup truck on the ground at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. The fifth-generation fighter was flown by Col. Scott Cain, 412th Operations Group commander. (Courtesy photo by Darin Russell/Lockheed Martin)

An F-35C from the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, releases a GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb March 29. The inert bomb tracked a moving pickup truck on the ground at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. The fifth-generation fighter was flown by Col. Scott Cain, 412th Operations Group commander. (Courtesy photo by Darin Russell/Lockheed Martin)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

The F-35 Integrated Test Force recently performed another first-of-its-kind test when the aircraft released a laser-guided bomb against a moving target.

 

An F-35C being tested here released specially built GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb over a controlled range at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the California desert, successfully engaging a small pickup truck March 29.

 

According to engineer Collin O’Fallon of the 775th Flight Test Squadron, this F-35 weapons delivery accuracy test was the first from an F-35 in the 3F software configuration, which has incorporated new release logic to enhance effectiveness against moving targets, with the objective of reducing pilot workload. O’Fallon is matrixed to the 461st Flight Test Squadron “Deadly Jesters” for the testing.

“This logic is called Lead Point Compute, which in essence, delays the release point of the weapon to ensure the weapon has the available kinematics to guide to and reach the target at its future location,” O’Fallon said.

The system evaluates the speed and direction of the target against the altitude and speed of the aircraft to determine the exact release.

“The higher and faster you go, the farther you can sling the thing,” he said.

The GBU-12 is a proven weapon with many years of service on multiple platforms. So these tests are designed to stress the weapon platform -- the aircraft – rather than the weapon itself.  For testing, the GBU-12 was built up using an explosively inert warhead, and the fuze was replaced with an inertial measurement unit to measure accelerations during employment, according to O’Fallon.

“This was really a test of the aircraft targeting system and associated weaponeering logic, and the results of this test will be used to certify this capability with a GBU-12 on the F-35.

The weaponeering logic is all the information compiled to give the pilot that one solution.

“(The pilot) doesn’t have to think about how fast the target’s going, or what direction,” O’Fallon said. “By him using this 3F capability, it’s doing all the weaponeering for him. That’s really the big thing, it’s a single-seat fighter. He’s got to do it all, so we want to do as much for him as we can.”

Although the GBU-12 was inert, it still made short work of its intended target, a small pickup truck.

O’Fallon said the decision was that the target vehicle would be towed on a 60-foot trailer by an existing remote controlled tow vehicle in the interest of saving time and money. The tow vehicle was not controlled in real time, but rather the route was recorded via GPS and the controlling computer drove this route maintaining a sterile exclusion zone.

“It’s pretty cool. The guy gets in, hits the record button. He drives the route we want. Then he hits save and the vehicle will reset itself to its initial start point,” said O'Fallon.

The whole point of the autonomous tow vehicle was safety, making sure nobody’s in the hazard zone.

“Nobody has to be in there making last-minute adjustments,” O’Fallon said.

According to O’Fallon, the data collected from this test will certify this weapon capability and enhance the lethality of the F-35.

"This test is also the first developmental test release of a guided GBU-12 from the F-35C model."

 

Developmental testing here has now performed a GBU-12 release from every F-35 variant.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

News Search