BERLIN, PARIS, (BM) – The French procurement authority Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), has ordered the first series of the MK82-EP, which intends for the Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter jets, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing FlugRevue.
The German Air Force has also selected the Rheinmetall MK82-EP as a new component of the Guided Bomb Unit GBU54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Ammunition (LJDAM) for Tornado and Eurofighter. Both orders include a total of more than 2,000 bombs worth over 35 million euros.
In October 2020, the French DGA qualified the new 250 kg bomb MK82-EP (Enhanced Performance). This step was preceded by a five-year development program and extensive tests by the subsidiary RWM Italia SpA, Rheinmetall’s competence center for air force ammunition. Its explosives involvement in Eurenco.
The 250 kg bomb body MK82-EP has been developing for maximum safety during storage, handling, and use. It is an improved, completely interchangeable variant of the standard MK82 model and characterizes by an improved effect.
The MK82-EP can be used unguided, but also with Paveway, Joint Direct Attack Ammunition (JDAM), Laser Joint Direct Attack Ammunition (LJDAM), or Armament Air-Sol Modulaire (ASM) kits as guided drop ammunition.
Diehl Defense is the main contractor for the Air Force’s GBU54 Guided Bomb Unit project. In addition to Rheinmetall, other cooperation partners are Boeing for the control system and Junghans Microtec for the detonator. Diehl was recently commissioned to supply several hundred of these systems. Delivery is expecting to begin in 2021 and to complete in 2024.
Thanks to France and Germany’s successes, the MK82-EP is also considered a probable armament for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the fighter aircraft of the future developed by both nations. The MK82-EP air force ammunition is also the new standard for all users of the Mirage 2000, Rafale, and Eurofighter aircraft.
US turned F-35 into a bomber capable of dropping a supersonic nuclear bomb
The US Air Force conducted an air test to launch a nuclear bomb without a warhead from a fifth-generation F-35 fighter at supersonic speed, we reported in November. According to information spread in a number of Western online publications, the test was performed at an altitude of 3,000 meters about 42 seconds of the nuclear missile to hit the target.
It is only at the end of the year that these tests are announced, which according to various sources took place in the middle of this year, around August 25 at the Tonopa test site. According to Sandia National Laboratories, one of the three research and development laboratories of the National Nuclear Security Administration in the United States, the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter dropped the munition at supersonic speed. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that these are not the first such tests by the US Air Force, as the last ones were in 2019.
The American fighter used a B61-12 bomb for the test. Military analysts say the tested bomb is a new updated model of its latest version and is controllable due to the new shape of the bomb’s tail. This is the main reason why the bomb is not equipped with the standard parachutes for this model. The fact that the bomb was designed to be maneuverable makes it easier for American fighter pilots, as they previously had to avoid flying over a specific target, making them vulnerable to enemy missiles and air defense systems. Now, with the changed tail and bomb targeting function, this is not necessary.
B61-12 is a new development of American military engineering. The Pentagon had plans to start mass production of the bomb in 2020, but came to a series of defects that had to be eliminated. B61-12 turns out that it can be used by another American fighter – F-15E. The United States conducted a series of simulation tests using this fighter and came to a final assessment that it could easily be used to drop this type of bomb.
Currently, among a series of tests, the United States has two fighters that can also be used as bombers – F-35 and F-15. The process of building the US Air Force’s B-21 strategic bomber is still ongoing, so the possibility of using fighter jets for bombing is well received by Pentagon officials.
According to Pentagon sources, the B-21 bomber should be in the sky next year, but due to a number of unplanned circumstances, the first flight of the bomber is expected to take place in 2022.
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