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USAF invites offers for new bomb-dispenser

PLANNING FOR A NEW dispenser-weapon programme is under way within the US Air Force. The service has issued a request for information on captive-dispenser technology and plans to award competitive advanced-development contracts in the fourth quarter of 1997.

The captive dispenser is intended to be carried internally in the weapons bays of the Rockwell B-1 and Northrop Grumman B-2 bombers, Lockheed Martin F-117 and Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 fighters and the planned Joint Strike Fighter. The same dispenser is to be carried externally on the Lockheed Martin F-16 and McDonnell Douglas F-15.

The weapon will dispense new smart sub-munitions under development by the USAF, including the low-cost autonomous-attack submunition (LOCAAS) and the small smart bomb (SSB), as well as the existing combined-effects bomblet and sensor-fuzed weapon. Powered and unpowered, 22-36kg, variants of the LOCAAS are planned to attack mobile ground targets, while the 110kg SSB is intended for use against hard fixed targets.

The US Navy has announced plans to buy up to 200 ADM-141C Improved Tactical Air-Launched Decoys from Israel Military Industries.