The British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy have visited the 48th Munitions Squadron (MUNS) at RAF Lakenheath, UK, to attain a better understanding of the Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) 12 Paveway II weapon.
The airforce and the navy intend to use the GBU-12 on the future F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The GBU-12 is a laser-guided 500lb bomb that the 48th MUNS uses on its F-15 platforms. The weapon is already used by the RAF on other aircraft.
Disassembling a GBU-12, the airmen from the 48th MUNS provided the RAF with necessary information about the training programme used to ensure that the Liberty wing munitions Airmen are mission ready.
Royal Navy Lightning Project Team Support Authority chief petty officer Taff Moult said: “The issue we found ourselves in was that we will be using GBU-12 munitions for the F-35.
“The UK F-35 team has had no exposure to GBU-12, and we have to establish that we can conduct the prep work for the munition on the aircraft carrier before the Lightning IIs arrive.”
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Moult added: “We think this is something we can build toward and, in the future, we can work together and have more joint training opportunities centred around the F-35.
Weighing 800lb, the 129in-long GBU-12 Paveway II-guided weapon features improved detector optics and housing made of injection-moulded plastic, improved detector sensitivity, and minimum thermal battery delay after release. It also includes higher maximum canard deflection, laser coding, folding wings for carriage, and enhanced detector field of view.
The instantaneous field of view of Paveway II is 30% greater than that of the Paveway I’s field of view.