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BLU-113/B, A/B Penetrator Warhead

The BLU-113 is a penetrating munition that uses a modified Army artillery tube as the bomb body. They are fitted with GBU-27 LGB kits, 14.5 inches in diameter and almost 19 feet long. The BLU-113 is a 4,444 pound penetrator. The case is made from HP9420 alloy steel to provide target penetration capabilities. The bomb body is loaded with 670 lbs of 80/20 tritonal explosives and utilizes a single fuze.

In 1993, National Forge Company (NFC) became the Manager Quality Engineering for the development and production contract (Ref# F08626-93-C-0051), for the BLU-113 A/B, awarded by Eglin AFB, for a quantity of 125 assemblies. In 1997, NFC was awarded the production contract (Ref# F42630-97-C-0262) by Hill AFB, for an unknown quantity of BLU-113A/B assemblies.

Eglin Steel is a high-performance, low-cost composition as a very viable candidate for the Guided Bomb Unit-28 pre-planned product improvement warhead case material. Eglin Steel is outstanding not only because it exhibits superior strength and toughness (the ability of the material to absorb energy without fracturing) to that of conventional penetrator materials that are currently used for warhead cases, but also because its cost is equal to or less than that of these traditional, lower-performance casing materials. In today's environment, cost is an important factor for all military systems, and Eglin Steel will allow potential contractors to realize a reduction in their material cost estimates, while increasing the material performance necessary to ensure program success.

The patented Eglin Steel alloy, developed for hard target penetrator purposes, has far-reaching military potential applications, ranging from missile parts to tank bodies to any weapon system whose main structural components require high strength and toughness. The commercial implications are numerous as well, since the alloy's high strength and toughness characteristics can increase the overall endurance of machine parts, allowing for much greater periods between replacements than conventional materials. Eglin Steel alloy is easy to weld, making it an attractive choice for a wide variety of built-up sections.

In 2003 assessments were made at Eglin to select an improved explosive fill for the BLU-113 warhead. Three aspects germane to the issue were assessed, which included survivability, ignitability, and explosive performance. AFX-757 was recommended as the candidate replacement fill for the BLU-113.

The explosive fill used in Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM), AFX-757, was developed at AFRL's Energetic Materials Branch. It was originally designed to be a replacement for tritonal in the Miniature Munition Technology program. Because of its increased blast energy and improved insensitivity relative to tritonal, the JASSM special projects office chose AFX-757 for their new weapon system. To date, the JASSM program has successfully accomplished all required IM classification testing, and Hazard Classification testing. The AFX-757 development by High Explosives Research and Development (HERD) Facility was a significant factor in that success.

By 2005 the Air Force was improving capability to attack hardened and/or deeply buried targets during adverse environmental conditions. The performance of the 4,700-lb BLU-113, used on the GBU-28 laser-guided bomb, is being greatly enhanced through the design modification of the BLU-113 warhead, improving its penetration, lethality, and survivability. This modification will increase the number of deeply buried targets held at risk. In addition, some existing targets held at risk will require fewer weapons, therefore reducing the number of missions necessary to defeat a target.



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