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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) March 20, 2003

Latest Weapons Face Battle In Iraq

Since the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. arsenal of high-tech weapons has expanded to include more sophisticated "smart" bombs and missiles, more stealth aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and precision strikes. Here are a few of the weapons that are expected to play a major role in a conflict with Iraq.




HEIGHT: 16 ft., 0 in.
WINGSPAN: 44 ft., 8.5 in.
LENGTH: 60 ft., 3.5 in.
Type: Multi-role fighter
Weight (empty): 30,885 lbs.
Max. external stores load (takeoff): 17,700 lbs.
Takeoff weight (attack mission): 66,000 lbs.
Max speed: Mach 1.8 plus
Type: Multi-role fighter
Weight (empty): 30,885 lbs.
Max. external stores load (takeoff): 17,700 lbs.
Takeoff weight (attack mission): 66,000 lbs.
Combat ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Range: 1,800 nautical miles
Power plant: Two General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 22,000 lbs. of thrust




The U.S. Air Force and Navy's Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) is an air-to-surface guided glide missile designed to provide all-weather precision strikes. The ability to customize its munition payload allows for multiple target strikes from a single missile.
Length: 13 feet, 5 inches
Wingspan: 8 feet, 10 inches
Weight: 1,000-1,500 pounds
Range: 15-40 miles from launch
Guidance System: Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation
System cost: $150,000

1. Missile is launder with mission data already downloaded from the plane.
2. Wings unfold after launch; JSOW glides to target up to 60 miles from launch.
3. The missile's munition payload can be customized depending on the target.
3 A. Soft bomb: Nonlethal munition that dispenses carbon graphite filaments a few hundredths of an inch thick. These short-circuit electrical transformers and stations upon contact.
3 B. Mini bombs: 145 bomblets with armor-defeat and incendiary capabilities.
3 C. Anti-armor: Six canisters each holding four projectiles.
4. JSOW can circle around target and approach from any angle.
5. In addition to other munitions configurations, the JSOW is capable of precision strikes with a single warhead.




HEIGHT: 17 ft.
WINGSPAN: 172 ft.
LENGTH: 69 ft.
Type: Low-observable strategic bomber
Weight (empty): 100,000 lbs.
Max. armament load: 50,000 lbs.; can deliver a variety of conventional and nuclear weapons, including near precision-guided munitions, gravity bombs and maritime weapons
Gross takeoff weight: 376,000 lbs.
Max speed: High subsonic
Combat ceiling: 55,000 ft.
Range: 6,600 nautical miles unrefueled, over 10,000 miles with one refueling
Power plant: Four 19,000-lb. thrust General Electric F118-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofans




The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts general purpose, free-fall bombs into guided "smart" weapons capable of accurate strikes in any weather. The bombs are guided by movable tail fins controlled by an Inertial Navigation System (INS) aided by a Global Positioning System (GPS ).
Length: 10 feet, 3 inches
Weight: 2,000 pounds
Range: Greater than 5 miles and up to 15 miles from launch
Guidance System: Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation
System cost: $18,000
Strakes attach to the body of warhead to provide flight stability.

Tail section
Houses computer, Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver and battery-operated motors to control movable fins.

1. Mission data is downloaded from the aircraft to the bomb while being flown to the release point.
2. During free fall, the bomb's GPS unit receives location data correcting inertial navigation system errors.
3. The guidance computer uses the GPS/INS data to adjust the movable tail fins and correct the bomb's trajectory toward the designated target's coordinates.
4. If GPS fails, motion-detecting back up system steers bomb to target.
5. A 2,000 lb. JDAM is deadly within a 1,300-yd. radius




The RQ-1 Predator is a long-dwell unmanned aerial vehicle operating in excess of 24 hours. That's equivalent to flying 400 nautical miles, patrolling an area for over 14 hours, then returning 400 nautical miles home. Its first flight was in June of 1994 and it went operational with a deployment to support the Bosnian operations in 1996. It also played a significant part in military operations in Afghanistan. In addition to its role as a reconnaissance aircraft, the Predator is equipped to launch AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
LENGTH: 27 ft.
HEIGHT: 6 ft.
WINGSPAN: 48 ft.
Type: Unmanned airborne surveillance reconnaissance and target acquisition
Weight (empty): 1,130 pounds
Max. takeoff weight: 2,250 pounds
Speed: 135 mph
Ceiling: 25,000 feet
Range: 400 nautical miles
Power plant: Rotax 914 four-cylinder engine producing 101 horsepower

1. Predator, its control station and controllers are airlifted in cargo planes to the operation theater.
2. The aircraft has four people who act as its controllers. One person flies the aircraft while the other three monitor its sensors, all from the control station.
3. Controllers send commands to and receive data from Predator directly or via satellite.

Sources: The Associated Press, Knight-Ridder Tribune, Northrop Grumman, Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, The Directory of the World's Weapons, GlobalSecurity.org, Globalaircraft.org



GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC GRAPHIC (1) Color Graphic , Chart with Color Graphic , Illustrationsby JOHN D. TELFORD , POST-DISPATCH - LATEST WEAPONS FACE BATTLE INIRAQ (For chart information see text field.)

Sources: The Associated Press, Knight-Ridder Tribune, NorthropGrumman, Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, The Complete Encyclopediaof World Aircraft, The Directory of the World's Weapons,GlobalSecurity.org, Globalaircraft.org

(2) Color Graphic , Illustration - F, A-18E SUPER HORNET
(3) Color Graphic , Illustration - AGM-154 JSOW (Joint Stand-OffWeapon)
(4) Color Graphic , Illustration - B-2 SPIRIT
(5) Color Graphic , Illustration - GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct AttackMunition)
(6) Color Graphic , Illustration - RQ-1 PREDATOR

Copyright 2003, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.