India Buys GPS-Guided “Cans of Whup-Ass”May 26, 2011 12:43 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
Integration contract. (May 26/11)
Going after a vehicle such as a surface to air missile launcher, or a cluster of vehicles like a formation of enemy tanks, can be a tricky business for a fast jet pilot. Vehicles hide, they shut off their radars, or there are just too many of them to effectively target and destroy en masse. Weapons like ATK’s AGM-88E AARGM and MBDA’s Brimstone missile can help, but there’s another solution. Textron’s Sensor-Fuzed Weapon (SFW) bomb scatters 40 projectiles, to cover 30 acres. The “skeet” projectiles, which look like tuna cans, will search for targets as they descend, then fire the equivalent of a tank shell through the target’s top armor. If no targets are found, 3 safety modes ensure that the area is safe for troops to move through within several minutes – which means it’s also safe for civilians years later. See “$108.1M for 13,280 ‘Cans of Whup-Ass’ ” for more.
On Sept 30/08, the US DSCA conveyed India’s formal request for a variant of the SFW with GPS guidance… but which IAF aircraft will carry them?
Contracts & Key Events
May 26/11: Textron Systems Corp. in Wilmington, MA receives a $9.9 million contract modification for the Sensor Fuzed Weapon India Foreign Military Sales case integration phase. It’s an 8-month effort, but without it, there isn’t much point to buying a bomb that can’t work with your planes. The AAC/EBJI at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages the contract, on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (FA8682-11-C-0044, PO 0001).
DID has not been able to find any information on which Indian aircraft will carry WCMDs (vid. Sept 30/08 entry). Readers with information are encouraged to email tips@… here at our URL.
Dec 8/10: Textron Systems Corp. in Wilmington, MA receives a $257.7 million contract to provide 512 sensor-fuzed weapon/ CBU-105 production units, and 44 training units to India. At this time, $126.3 million has been committed. The AAC/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FK manages the contract on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale customer (FA8682-11-C-0044). See also Textron.
March 18/10: India Today covers 2 impending buys for the IAF (CBU-105 and Harop drones), and explains their uses via simple scenarios.
The Harop UAV is also known as “Harpy-2,” and builds on its radar-killer predecessor by adding more size, the option of human control, and electro-optic day/night cameras that can be used to pick out a much wider range of targets. The buy is independent of the WCMD, but Harop UAVs would be an effective advance wave, to clear the way for any IAF flight attacking a defended tank or troop concentration.
Sept 30/08: The US DSCA announces India’s formal request for 510 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, which include Lockheed Martin’s “WCMD” GPS/INS guidance kit that screws into the bomb’s tail. India has also asked for 19 CBU-105 Integration test assets (12 live tails, 7 inert tails); 5 CBU-97 Integration test assets; containers; aircraft modification and integration; spare and repair parts; ad other forms of support.
The estimated cost is $375 million, which compares unfavorably to past American purchases of $108 million for 322 weapons. DSCA numbers are generally maximums, however, and the key term in this description is probably “aircraft integration.” That effort will require installation of MIL-STD-1760 interfaces in the designated aircraft, which must then be integrated with the aircraft’s stores management system.
The prime contractor will be Textron Systems Corporation of Wilmington, MA, and India has requested industrial offsets per its foreign procurement rules. Those offsets will be defined in negotiations with Textron. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to India involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 2 years.
The interesting question is, which aircraft will carry the CBU-105 SFW/WCMD bombs? Integration with Russian aircraft would pose additional challenges, which makes India’s Jaguar strike aircraft or Mirage 2000/Vajra aircraft its most likely candidates.
During the 1999 Kargil War, the performance of India’s Mirage 2000H/TH aircraft made them the IAF’s preferred aircraft for high-altitude bombing. That’s a much safer approach, because it keeps the aircraft above short range air defense systems. Thanks to its WCMD kit, the CBU-105 is perfectly suited to that approach, which is why it has been added to USAF B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers. While the status of a proposed Indian upgrade to Mirage 2000v5 Mk2 standard remains uncertain, India’s Mirage 2000 fleet has already received some local upgrades to improve their capabilities. The Vajra fleet’s niche within the IAF, plus that base of experience with local modifications, make it the most likely candidate to carry India’s CBU-105s after the contract is signed, and deliveries begin.