GEC-MARCONI Dynamics has fit-checked the 227kg version of its precision-guided munition (PGM) beneath the wing of the upgraded Northrop Grumman F-5E Tiger IV, and is also continuing flight-testing the weapon on a McDonnell Douglas F-4.

The company is aiming the weapon, called the PGM-500, at potential F-5 upgrade customers. The PGM-500 is based on the smallest of its Hakim family of PGMs developed for the United Arab Emirates.

The company displayed the weapon at the F-5 worldwide review meeting in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month.

The fit-checks were conducted at Edwards AFB, California, during a break in the recent flight tests of the revamped F-5E. They revealed that the PGM-500 " a nice match with the F-5", say GEC-Marconi sources.

GEC-Marconi also wants to capitalise on the lead-in fighter link between the upgraded F-5 and the Lockheed Martin F-16 by offering the PGM-500 and the 900kg PGM-2000 for the larger aircraft.

Nine of the 21 F-5 users at the San Antonio meeting also operate F-16s and several are considering upgrading the F-5 and acquiring some weapons common to both types. Those countries include Bahrain, Greece, Indonesia, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey, which is also upgrading its F-4 fleet.

CMS, a Florida-based subsidiary of Daimler-Benz Aerospace, is also offering its autonomous free-flight dispenser system (AFDS) and displayed the weapon at San Antonio. The manufacturer is aiming for sales of the unpowered sub-munitions dispenser to F-16 users and several key F-5 upgrade candidates, including Greece, Thailand, Turkey, and South Korea.

The 660kg AFDS is guided by a combined inertial-navigation and global-positioning system, and the weapon can dispense a variety of sub-munitions.

Based on tests using an F-16, the US Department of Defense's initial capability assessment gave the AFDS a stand-off range of 8km (4nm) with a low-level release height, and a range of 22km with a 20,000ft (6,100m) release height.

The AFDS is now in production as the DWS-39 for the Saab JAS39 Gripen and, like the PGM-500, has been fit-checked with the F-5. Although CMS says that it was "a close fit", it is proposing to refine the casing and alignment to increase ground clearance.

Other equipment also displayed for potential use on upgraded F-5s included Thomson-CSF's Atlis laser-designator/marked-target-seeker pod, Dassault Electronique's EWS-A radar-warning receiver, and the Rafael-developed Litening targeting and navigation pod.

Source: Flight International