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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Upgraded B-2 bunker buster test successful

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A massive smart bomb designed for the B-2 stealth bomber underwent successful field testing in Utah recently.

The 5,000-pound "bunker-buster" ordinance dropped from an Air Force B-2 was part of $5.4 million contract awarded to Northrop Grumman last winter for the integration of the device into the B-2 arsenal.

"The demonstration represents another example of our commitment to maintain the B-2's flexibility to employ a variety of advanced weapons," said Mike Galaway, director of B-2 product development and delivery at Northrop Grumman. "We also want to ensure that the (B-2) remains the most versatile and lethal bomber in the inventory."

The bombing run took place at the range at Hill Air Force Base and destroyed a ground target using a GBU-28C/B bomb armed with a BLU-122 warhead-guidance system developed by Raytheon.

The GBU-28C/B is an upgrade to the 28B/B model that was deployed with the B-2 in 2002. The new version penetrates deeper into the ground.

The GBU-28 line is designed to take out underground bunkers and reinforced command posts during the initial phase of air operations that are generally led by the radar-evading B-2. The BLU-122 guidance system integrates laser and global-positioning system technology to deliver the weapon on target.

Raytheon is under contract to build 140 guidance systems and tail kits at a cost of $18.5 million. Delivery is to be completed in May 2007.
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