The US Air Force (USAF) successfully tested an anti-ship munition developed under the service’s QUICKSINK programme.
The test was carried out in the Gulf of Mexico on 28 April and resulted in destruction of a full-scale target vessel, the air force says. Video of the test shows an empty cargo ship being impacted from above at roughly mid-ship. The vessel appears to break in half and sink within seconds.
QUICKSINK is a weapons development programme overseen by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). According to AFRL, the goal of QUICKSINK is to replicate the ship-killing capability of the US Navy’s MK-48 torpedo in a cheaper, more-flexible air-delivered platform.
“A navy submarine has the ability to launch and destroy a ship with a single torpedo at any time, but the QUICKSINK [Joint Capability Technology Demonstration] aims to develop a low-cost method of achieving torpedo-like kills from the air at a much higher rate and over a much larger area,” says Kirk Herzog, AFRL programme manager, in a 29 April statement.
The recent QUICKSINK test used a modified GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) that incorporates a maritime seeker on the nose. It was released from an Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle over the 52,000sq km (20,000sq mile) Eglin Base Gulf Test and Training Range off the coast of Florida.