In the Gulf of Mexico, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) displayed a new low-cost, ship-killing smart bomb.
An F-15E Strike Eagle delivered a modified 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), which destroyed a full-scale surface vessel.
The current testing was part of the QUICKSINK Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, which was started by the AFRL and funded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The 780th Test Squadron (96th Test Wing) and the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron collaborated on the test (53rd Wing).
“The QUICKSINK mission was successful thanks to the hours of planning and preparation provided by the entire test team,” Capt. J. Tucker Tipton said.
“This was another example of how the 780th Test Squadron supports weapons developmental test customers and helps deliver unique capabilities to the warfighter.”
QUICKSINK is a US Air Force initiative that aims to give more alternatives for countering marine surface threats by exploiting the combined force’s “inherent flexibility.”
Its goal is to quickly field a capability that can be utilized against fixed or moving marine targets at a low cost.
The AFRL depends on the capabilities of a weapon open systems architecture (WOSA) seeker as part of the program to enable precision weapon placement, lowering system costs and improving overall performance.
“QUICKSINK is unique in that it can provide new capabilities to existing and future DOD (Department of Defense) weapons systems, giving combatant commanders and our national leaders’ new ways to defend against maritime threats,” AFRL program manager Kirk Herzog said.
According to AFRL munitions directorate officer Col. Tony Meeks, the initiative addresses the immediate requirement to eliminate several marine threats. It also assists the US Air Force in “solving our nation’s most difficult challenges.”
According to Maj. Andrew Swanson of the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, heavyweight torpedoes have demonstrated their potential to sink huge ships.
However, such a weapon system is costly and can only be used by a limited percentage of naval assets.
“With QUICKSINK, we have demonstrated a low-cost and more agile solution that has the potential to be employed by the majority of Air Force combat aircraft, providing combatant commanders and warfighters with more options,” Swanson stressed.