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Thu, May 12, 2005

Newest B-1B Capability Highlighted At Dyess

Simulates 72 JASSM Launches On Single Mission

B-1B Lancer bombers here recently demonstrated their superior flexibility and air power capability by simulating 72 launches of the bomber’s newest weapon, the joint air-to-surface standoff missile during JASSM Thunder 05-01.

The exercise is the first operational-level planning-to-execution exercise for the B-1B bomber featuring its new JASSM capability, base officials said.

The missile is an air-to-surface, self-propelled weapon with a single warhead that has an effective range of about 230 miles. It was designed to penetrate highly defended airspace as an independent cruise missile to eliminate high-value fixed targets. It has the ability to strike hard targets, soft targets or targets of opportunity with precision, officials said.

"We developed the capability to use this weapon, but we recognized the need for all of the off-base players to be on board with its employment," said Maj. Joseph Reidy of the 7th Operations Group. "The JASSM is designed to provide true standoff capability. By effectively using this weapon, we can keep a $280-million aircraft and its aircrew as far out of harm’s way as possible.

"This test gives us the ability to realistically (use) this important weapon system," he said. "But not only that, we are accurately (using) this weapon in a realistic timeline. Simply put, this is a weapon that we can shoot, and shoot effectively."

The missile is part of the B-1B Joint Standoff Weapon/JASSM Integration program, an extension of the B-1B’s upgrade, and one part of the overall B-1B conventional mission upgrade program.

"The JASSM can deliver a 1,000-pound penetrator warhead to a range of (more than 230 miles) with better than 3-(yard) accuracy," said Jack Genesevich, 36th Intelligence Squadron senior analyst. "(It) uses a preloaded wire-frame terminal area model of the target area to achieve more accurate terminal guidance than is possible with Global Positioning System (units) alone. Each missile can hold up to eight (target models) and associated ingress routes to allow in-flight target selection."

The exercise is the third program in a series of demonstrations challenging the capabilities and limitations of the B-1B bomber and its new weapon system. These demonstrations are specifically designed to hone and improve the essential mission planning and weapon employment capabilities, said Capt. Steve Sturm, 7th BW weapons officer.



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