Twenty-First-Century Aerial Mining
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
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On 23 September 2014, a B-52H bomber at high altitude north of Guam accomplished an aviation first the release of a winged, precision aerial mine fig. 1. The inert, orange and white GBU-62Bv-1B Quickstrike-ER extended range separated cleanly from the B-52, rolled, and three seconds after release, the BSU-104 wings deployed, transforming a free-fall munition into a medium range weapon. Under command from the attached Joint Direct Attack Munition JDAM tail kit, the weapon flew around 40 nautical miles nm and impacted the water. Had the weapon been a live system dropped in shallow water, it would have settled to the bottom to lie in wait for a target. This effort marked the first advance in aerial mine delivery techniques since 1943 and demonstrated a capability that substantially changes the potential of aerial mining in a threat environment. Using off-the-shelf components and operational aircraft, aerial mining quietly entered the twenty-first century.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics