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23rd BS aircrews drop unique munitions during night training missions

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by layman, Feb 18, 2014.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Two aircrews from the 23rd Bomb Squadron here successfully dropped a Cluster Bomb Unit-103 and two CBU-87B munitions during night training missions over the Nevada Test and Training Range Feb. 11.

    The squadron flew two B-52H Stratofortresses, each armed with a CBU-103 and CBU-87B to test their ability to drop live munitions using guided and non-guided weapons systems.

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    “It was a good opportunity for us to practice live weapon employment,†said Capt. Michael Devita, 23rd BS weapons and tactics flight commander. “We don’t get a lot of opportunities like this. We only get to drop about two of these munitions per year.â€

    Devita added that aircrews usually practice with simulated munitions, but using live weapons allow them to analyze the weapons system video footage to see the effects of getting these bombs on target.

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    The CBU-87B is an all-purpose, air-delivered cluster weapon system, but it’s not guided by a global positioning system like the CBU-103. Devita said they were able to successfully destroy their intended target with the CBU-103.

    “The CBU-103 was a direct hit,†he said. “We were able to take the video back and analyze it to see that it would definitely destroy the target we were dropping on.â€

    Lt. Col. Brandon Parker, 23rd BS commander, said his squadron, as well as the 5th Bomb Wing, have nuclear and conventional mission requirements they need to be prepared to execute at a moment’s notice. After training and refining their procedures for their nuclear mission over the past few months, the 23rd BS has shifted to flying night training missions to practice executing their conventional mission.

    “There is no better way to demonstrate your proficiency and build confidence in your capabilities than to go out and drop live weapons on the range,†said Parker. “The whole team is involved. We are taking CBU-103s, which are wind corrected munitions dispensers, out to the Nellis range, and these crews are dropping those weapons out there to enhance our conventional readiness.â€

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  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Two U.S. B-52 bombers drop live cluster bombs during unique night mission

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    U.S. has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions hence B-52 Stratofortress bombers have to train with this kind of weapons.

    After spending some weeks training with (simulated) nuclear weapons, on Feb. 11, two B-52s from the 23rd Bomb Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, successfully dropped conventional cluster bombs during a night training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range.

    The two Stratofortress bombers used their payload made of a Cluster Bomb Unit-103 and two CBU-87B munitions; a “unique opportunity” since the Squadron only gets to drop these munitions no more than twice each year.

    Furthermore these were live weapons, while aircrews usually practice with simulated munitions.

    The CBU-87B is an all-purpose, air-delivered cluster weapon system; when used in conjunction with the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) guidance tail kit, which includes a GPS (Global Positioning System) it becomes is designated CBU-103.

    According to the aircrews who employed the cluster bombs on the Nevada range, the CBU-103 “was a direct hit that would have destroyed its intended target.”

    CBU-87s have replaced previous Cluster Bombs Units used during the Vietnam War in 1986. As already mentioned, U.S. is not among the major powers that have signed the 2010′s Convention on Cluster Munitons to ban use and stockpiling of cluster weapons.

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