GBU-51/B BLU-126/B Low Collateral Damage Bomb (LCDB)
The Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA 201) brought the BLU-126/B bomb from concept to deployment in less than 17 months. It fulfills a Fleet need for a weapon that is both combat effective and adheres to U.S. Central Command’s Collateral Damage Rules of Engagement. The key feature of this bomb concept was modifying the BLU-111 500-pound Mk82 bomb to reduce fragment quantity and velocity. The BLU-126/B - the designation for the LCDB - is externally identical to the 500 lbs. BLU-111, but contains less explosive mass producing a reduced fragmentation pattern and blast radius. The modification reduces the mass of the main-charge explosive to less than 30 pounds, and the removed explosive mass is replaced with inert material that maintains the mass properties.
The program developed the weapon for use in situations where friendly forces or civilians are close to the target. The BLU-126/B, Low Collateral Damage Bomb (LCDB), can be used with the same guidance kits as the BLU-111, including those for laser guided bomb and joint direct attack munitions. The program developed the weapon for use in situations where friendly forces or civilians are close to the target.
Naval aviators targeted enemies for the first time in mid-2007 using the Low Collateral Damage Bomb (LCDB), a specialized weapon developed at Naval Air Systems Command. Naval aviation aircraft dropped a GBU-51/B laser-guided bomb with the low-collateral damage explosive on an enemy target in Iraq on 27 July 2007 after insurgents were identified setting up an improvised explosive device along a convoy route. Forward Air Control (FAC) observing the insurgents directed an F/A-18 assigned to VMFA-121 to the successful strike.
A second drop was recorded August 12 in Iraq. FAC observed two vehicles in known terrorist-held territory making a weapons transfer. Two F/A-18's assigned to VMFA-121 vectored to the targets. The aircraft destroyed a van with an AGM-65E Maverick and a sedan parked in a vacant lot off the road using a GBU-51/B with low collateral damage explosive. Examination after the July and August attacks showed the bombs had successfully detonated while effectively limiting damage beyond the intended target.
After early experiences in combat, the Fleet had requested just such a solution for unwanted collateral damage in direct attack bombing scenarios. The Navy’s Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201) at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., led the LCDB acquisition effort using technical expertise from the Naval Air Warfare Center- Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. The PMA-201 team delivered a solution in only 16 months from warfighter need to fielded capability delivering LCDB to Naval units in April of this year.
“Our Naval warfighter depends upon us to provide the right capability at the right time at an acceptable cost. When the combatant command submitted their low collateral damage effects urgent need, we were able to quickly and efficiently energize the Precision Strike Weapons team to identify a cost-effective solution in record time,” said Capt. Mat Winter, Precision Strike Weapons program manager. “The PMA/NAVAIR acquisition professional team performed excellently, and we delivered a solution into the warfighters’ hands in just 16 months. This accomplishment is a tribute to our acquisition agility facilitated through our cross functional Air Launched Weapons Team communications. Today is even more fulfilling now that LCDB has been successfully deployed in combat and achieved the results the warfighter requested.”
Air-to-ground weapons historically were produced to deliver the maximum amount of explosive effect possible. In modern urban warfare, there is often little delineation between friendly, neutral and enemy forces, which requires better blast and fragment control. The BLU-126/B allows tactical aircraft to employ a precision strike weapon that limits unintended damage. Both missions demonstrated this unique capability of inflicting a lethal blow with minimal collateral damage to surrounding buildings or road ways.
The PMA-201 team, comprised of engineers, logisticians and testers from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. and the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division China Lake, Calif., worked as part of the Naval Aviation Enterprise Air Launched Weapons Team to swiftly bring this “lethal-enough” and cost-effective capability to the Navy and Marine Corps warfighter, said Winter.
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