Air Weapons: May 12, 2002


The Navy wants a smaller GPS-guided bomb so that an F-18 can carry more weapons and attack more targets. Many targets can be destroyed by smaller bombs, and an F-18 with more bombs could attack more of them. Even more important, most targets in Afghanistan have been "emerging, short-term" targets, that are found at unexpected times and available for destruction for only a few minutes. A given aircraft carrier has only so many F-18s, and can only keep a few of them circling over the enemy nation waiting for a target at any given time. Once the on-station fighters use up their bombs, there may be no aircraft over the enemy until the next shift of fighters arrives. --Stephen V Cole


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