CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
The CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon cluster munition combines 10 submunitions with 4 skeet type warheads in a single dispenser, providing 40 weapons total. After release, a fuze causes the dispenser to disperse the 10 submunitions, each stabilized by a parachute. At a preset altitude a rocket fires, propelling the submunition in an upward vector. As the submunition climbs, it is spun to disperse the 4 internal skeet warheads randomly by centrifugal force. An IR sensor in each warhead searches for a target, and upon discovery detonates over it, firing a kinetic fragment. The fragment drives itself through the lightly armored top of the target. If no target is found, the sensor detonates the warhead above ground to spray the battlefield with a myriad of lethal fragments. This weapon is good against armor and soft skinned targets, covering a 4,800 square yard area.
The CBU-97 is a 1,000-pound class weapon containing sensor-fused submunitions for attacking armor. The SFW is the centerpiece of the Air Force concept of operations for engaging an adversary's main armored force in the "halt" or "hold" phase of a Major Regional Contingency, in which the USAF would disrupt and stop an attack, providing time for other combatant forces to reinforce to the theater.
As of November 2001 the Sensor Fuzed Weapon had not been reported to have been used in combat. As of September 2002 Textron had delivered 2,600 SFW canisters.
The primary components of this 1,000 pound class weapon are the SUU-66/B Tactical Munitions Dispenser (TMD), 10 BLU-108/B submunitions, and 40 "hockey puck" shaped skeet infrared sensing projectiles. The weapon is designed to be employed from US Air Force tactical aircraft from altitudes between 200 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) to 20,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) at speeds between 250 to 650 knots. Each CBU-97/B can cover an area of about 500 feet by 1,200 feet. Test results indicate that CBU-97 submunitions have a propensity to cluster and that impact patterns are unevenly distributed. This is contrary to the uniform distribution assumption employed in the Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual (JMEM). Because of the clustering effect, it appears that JMEM overestimates damage and more weapons may be required to destroy the target then predicted.
The Sensor Fuzed Weapon [SFW] is an unpowered, top attack, wide area, cluster munition, designed to achieve multiple kills per aircraft pass against enemy armor and support vehicles. After release, the TMD opens and dispenses the ten submunitions which are parachute stabilized. Each of the 10 BLU-108/B submunitions contains four armor-penetrating projectiles with infrared sensors to detect armored targets.
The SFW can be deployed from operational U.S. or NATO tactical aircraft. It is presently certified on various USAF fighter and bomber aircraft. Any fighter or attack aircraft, whose weapon pylons can accommodate a 1,000-pound class weapon and has 14-inch lug suspension mounts, can carry SFW.
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