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Integration of the joint direct attack munition on the F-14B Tomcat

by Filardi, Paul J.

Abstract (Summary)
Leading up to and including most of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military’s air-toground weapons consisted mainly of unguided freefall bombs. Their accuracy was limited and therefore required multiple aircraft to attack the same target, sometimes over and over again. The costs were high in effort, aircraft and lives. In May 1972, a flight of F-4 Phantom aircraft employed new weapons, called laser-guided bombs, against a seemingly indestructible bridge. When the smoke cleared, the bridge that had taken seven years and almost 900 dedicated attack flights was destroyed and the age of smart weapons had begun. During the 1990’s the US Military's Strike Warfare requirements had to be adjusted to overcome the limitations of the present generation of weapons, including the laser guided bomb. As evident by lessons learned from both the Operation Desert Storm air campaign in 1991 and the Kosovo conflict air campaign in 1999, a " through the weather " weapon capability would be a key factor in the success of any further military action. To accomplish this, a new generation of airborne weapons, deemed GPS-Guided Weapons, had been developed. GPS-Guided Weapons were built based on the requirement to hit within 13 meters of their intended target and be capable of being delivered in any weather conditions, day or night. After Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the single mission air-to-air only F-14 fighter, was becoming obsolete. The integration of a precision air-to-ground capability with smart weapons was a great accomplishment since they increased its lethality and worth in the Strike-Fighter arena and solidified its future into the next decade. iv During the period from Spring 1992 to Winter 2000, the integration of a GPS- Guided weapon, called the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), had been conceived, planned and flight tested on the F-14B Upgrade Naval Strike-Fighter aircraft. The testing occurred from November 1999 to September 2000 and provided integration challenges during this major modification to the F-14B Tomcat. Limited flexibility in the weapons controls and displays led to multiple system deficiencies and human factors issues. Proposed recommendations for improvements, discussed in detail in this study, included incorporation of dynamic launch acceptability regions, full airborne editing options to the weapons terminal impact parameters, a reduction from three data entry points to one cockpit keypad for navigation and weapon inputs, and an accurate weapon/navigation status display to prevent unintentional delivery of the JDAM with a degraded or no GPS solution. This study summarizes the evolution of precision guided weapons, the transformation of the F-14 Tomcat to employ modern weapons technology, and the testing of JDAM on the aircraft. v
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School:The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

School Location:USA - Tennessee

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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