Aircraft Weapons Loads
In the early stages of air warfare, aircraft-store compatibility was not a significant consideration except to ensure that weapons would fit onto and function with a carrier aircraft. During the Viet Nam War, aircraft entered the inventory that were large and powerful enough to carry significant tonnage of weapons. Also, many new weapons were being developed. The management of the resulting marriage of the aircraft and weapons provided a bewildering matrix of combinations that had to be identified, prioritized, analyzed and certified in a timely manner.
At the end of the war, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom was the USAF mainstay tactical combat aircraft. Virtually every store in existence was certified for use on the F-4. In the late 1970s, the USAF decided to replace the F-4 with the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The F-16 exhibited many more incompatibilities with weapons than the F-4 did. As the F-4 was phased out, the F-16 combat users found they were not getting the quantity and quality of combat capability they were expecting. Their mounting frustration culminated in 1986 when the Commander of the Tactical Air Command challenged HQ USAF to fix the problem. HQ USAF directed the SEEK EAGLE revitalization study, which resulted in the establishment of the Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office (AFSEO) in December 1987, when the office was chartered by the Secretary of the Air Force.
SEEK EAGLE is the Air Force certification process for determining safe carriage, employment and jettison limits, safe escape, and ballistics accuracy, when applicable, for all stores in specified loading configurations on Air Force and FMS aircraft The SE certification process includes compatibility analyses for fit, function, electromagnetic interface, flutter, loads, stability and control, and separation; stores loading procedures; ground and wind tunnel tests; and flight tests.
|M118 [T55]||3000-lb GP||x||x||x|
|M123 [T39]||12,000-lb GP|
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