‘Flying arsenal’: the USAF turned a transport aircraft into a deadly bomber

WASHINGTON, (BM) – US Air Force experts conducted tests designed to demonstrate that military transport aircraft can be used as bombers, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

According to Flightglobal, during the tests, the military dropped a transport pallet from the aircraft with two models of cruise missiles. These checks were considered successful.

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Over the past few years, the US Air Force has been considering the concept of a “flying arsenal.” It provides for the possibility of creating an aircraft capable of carrying a large number of missile and bomb weapons. One version of the concept suggests that missiles from such an aircraft will be launched on command from a fighter, on which, on the contrary, a possible minimum of weapons will be suspended.

Tests for dropping cruise missiles from a transport aircraft were carried out in January 2020 by specialists from the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Air Force Special Operations Forces, but the military only announced this now. The missile models were dropped from the special-purpose transport vehicle MC-130J Commando II.

During the tests, the military dropped a total of five transport pallets with six mass-dimensional models of CLEAVER cruise missiles designed to be launched from transport aircraft. Discharges were made at different heights through the aft ramp.

The US Air Force first introduced the concept of “flying arsenals” of the US Air Force in 2016. It is planned to install communication systems and video information processing on special aircraft, thanks to which they can receive data from drones and sensors of other combat aircraft.

“Flying arsenals” will also receive systems compatible with ground stations requesting support from the air, which are armed units of the Marine Corps and the US Army. In addition to the role of “weapons depots”, new aircraft will be able to act as communication centers.


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