Air Weapons: Little Things Add Up


April 17, 2010:  The U.S. Navy has developed a new bomb rack for its F-18 fighter-bombers. The new BRU-69/A multipurpose bomb rack replaces four older models. The new rack weighs 210 pounds and will save ground crews and pilots a lot of work. The new rack requires less maintenance, and the ground crews no longer have to mount different racks depending on the types of bombs used. The new rack no longer uses explosive devices to launch bombs, reducing corrosion (from explosives residue.) The new rack also has better electronic connections between pilots and bombs hung from the rack. This is important because of the growing use of smart bombs and other weapons that can be reprogrammed by the pilot.

Items like new bomb racks rarely get any publicity, but many improvements like this all add up to a major edge in combat capability. This is a big part of the quality difference between forces that appear to have similar, or identical, equipment. It's why industrialized nations, that spend a lot on refurbishing and updating their equipment, are so superior to countries that buy modern equipment, and then don't keep the stuff up to date, or even train much with the expensive gear.

Little things mean a lot, especially when there a lot of them, all the time. That said, the BRU-69 won't enter service for another seven years. Most of that will be taken up with testing. A new bomb rack with bugs is not a step forward.



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