AN/AXQ-14 Data Link System
The AN/AXQ-14 Data Link System provides a two-way communications system that turns the GBU-15, an unpowered 2,000-pound "glide bomb" or its powered successor, the AGM-130, into a precision guided weapon that can be controlled from the launch aircraft or a surveillance aircraft. The bomb can be "steered" to the target by a weapons control officer monitoring a display from a specially designed television camera or an infrared sensor in the bomb's nose.
Hughes began development of the AXQ-14 data link system in the mid-1970s and updated the system in the 1980s. The first production unit was delivered April 16, 1982 from Hughes' manufacturing facilities in California. The work was moved to Hughes' Orangeburg subsidiary, Hughes Aircraft - South Carolina, in 1993. The first of 128 South-Carolina-built systems was delivered last August, continuing a nine-year record of making all contractual deliveries on or ahead of schedule.
The system includes the weapon data link, an aircraft-mounted data link pod that provides guidance for the GBU-15/AGM-130, and a cockpit control unit for the weapon systems operator. The system is operational on USAF F-111s and F-15s and can be adapted to B-52s, F-16s, F/A-18s and other non-U.S. aircraft.
With more than 400 launches accomplished as of early 1995, the AXQ-14 had demonstrated better than 99 percent launch success rate and a mean time between failure rate which exceeded the specification by 300 percent. On 03 April 1995, nearly 13 years after the first delivery, Hughes Aircraft Company turned over to the US Air Force its 3,000th production AN/AXQ-14 Data Link System.
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