Air Weapons: August 17, 2005

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The U.S. Army has had so much success (on its Hunter UAV) with its Viper Strike smart bomb, that the U.S. Air Force is adapting the weapon for use on Predator UAVs and AC-130 gunships. Viper Strike is a 36 inch long unpowered glider. The 130mm diameter (with the wings folded) weapon weighs 44 pounds. Because the Viper Strike comes straight down, it is better suited for urban warfare. Its warhead only contains four pounds of explosives, meaning less damage to nearby civilians, while still powerful and accurate enough to destroy its target. A laser designator makes the Viper Strike accurate enough to hit an automobile, or a foxhole. Moreover, a Predator can carry two Viper Strikes in place of a single, hundred pound, Hellfire missile. An AC-130 could carry dozens of Viper Strike weapons, which can be stored internally and ejected via a small opening in the hull of the aircraft.

 


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