THE FIRST 17 global-positioning-system (GPS)-aided munitions (GAMs) have been delivered to Whiteman AFB, Missouri, for use on the Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber.

The GAM offers an interim, near-precision direct attack weapon pending future delivery of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) later this decade. Over 100 GAMs are scheduled for delivery by the end of this year.

Developed by Northrop Grumman and Hughes Aircraft, the GAM uses the aircraft's synthetic-aperture radar and GPS to guide a standard Mk84 900kg bomb which is fitted with a tail cone with moveable fins for trajectory control, and a GPS-inertial-navigation guidance unit.

The US Air Force is doubling the B-2s flying time between phase inspections to 400h . The phase inspections go beyond normal day-to-day maintenance, to the point of removing over 70 panels and inspecting over 1,200 items.

Source: Flight International