Military

Quicksink kit turns "dumb" bombs into ship destroyers

Quicksink kit turns "dumb" bom...
Quicksink 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
Quicksink 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
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Quicksink provides a fighter plane with the ship-destroying power of a submarine
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Quicksink provides a fighter plane with the ship-destroying power of a submarine
Quicksink was used to sink a target ship in the Gulf of Mexico
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Quicksink was used to sink a target ship in the Gulf of Mexico
F-15E with QUICKSINK
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F-15E with Quicksink taking off
Quicksink 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
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Quicksink 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
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The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has demonstrated the ability of air-dropped bombs to sink ships with the effectiveness of a submarine-launched torpedo at a fraction of the cost. On April 28, an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter sank a full-scale vessel in the Gulf of Mexico using a single 2,000-lb (907-kg) "Quicksink" GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

Attacking ships with bombs isn't new. In 1921, US Army Brigadier General Billy Mitchell started a revolution in naval warfare when he staged a test bomber attack that sank a captured German battleship. However, sinking a ship, especially a large one with double hulls and watertight compartments, isn't simply a matter of dropping explosives on the deck, but of placing the charge where it can do the most damage with a single shot.

This is the reason the anti-ship weapon of choice is a submarine-launched heavy torpedo like the US Type 46, which can deliver 96.8 lb (43.9 kg) of high-explosive PBXN-103 to the target. Ideally, the fatal spot is a point directly under the keel, though a slight distance from the hull. When the torpedo reaches this, a magnetic, timer, or remote control detonator sets off the charge and generates a shockwave that breaks the ship's back, sending it to the bottom.

F-15E with QUICKSINK
F-15E with Quicksink taking off

The downside is that submarines aren't always available at short notice and each tin fish costs a sobering US$1.2 million per shot. As an alternative, the AFRL and Eglin Air Force Base's Integrated Test Team set up the Quicksink Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) to test a potentially more cost effective and flexible alternative based on the JDAM system.

Put simply, a JDAM is a kit that turns an unguided "dumb" gravity bomb into a guided precision munition. It consists of a collar that goes around the main body of the bomb and a tail unit for guidance that used GPS and an inertial guidance system.

For Quicksink, the JDAM package has been modified with a new seeker unit and Weapon Open Systems Architecture (WOSA) to provide the needed precision to sink a target ship at a cost of only $300,000 per round. In addition, the system would allow for more strikes to be fielded against stationary or moving targets over a much larger area than a submarine could manage in the same timeframe.

"The development of this technology is critical to maintaining US technological superiority and addressing defined national security challenges," said Gerry Tighe, OUSD(R&E) oversight executive for the JCTD. "This successful demonstration represents an important milestone."

The video below shows the Quicksink in action.

QUICKSINK

Source: AFRL

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6 comments
6 comments
TedTheJackal
I grew up next to Elgin and it's not Elgin it's Eglin. Also, the rest of this story is that the F-15 would be shot down by a SAM before it ever got close enough to a warship to drop an unpowered bomb on it, which is why they have standoff munitions. War isn't cheap, just take a look at the US military budget. But I like “Quicksink”, and the Latin is classy. And an F-15 could kick an F-35's ass. Also, if you're ever near Eglin you should go to the Armament Museum. They have an SR-71.
Bodger
Gee! Very convincing cartoon there. While they are at it why not make the aircraft invisible and faster-than-light? Or maybe they could have a cartoon self-guided Tasmanian Devil which is dropped and eats its way right through the ship, sinking it. An animator can make all sorts of sciency breakthroughs at little cost.
Static
Defeated by CWIS
McDesign
Hmm - those containers leapt into the air with more than 96 lbs of HE under them.
jerryd
What a rip off. They can't make a seeker and control fins for 10% of that? A ship on the water is a easy target to spot.
Next a 2k lb for this tiny ship? Few ships are armored so anything over 500lbs is overkill. Better to have 4 500lb than 1 2k lb..
And don't they already have these?
An F15 can take on a SAM attack and win and they can drop these from 45k' too.
I was 200' in my boat under an SR-71 as it did an S turn lining up with the Boca Chica Naval Airbase/Key West was a rather beautiful sight. Interestingly it didn't land but was flying under Cuban radar coming in and at the end of the runway turned up on it's tail and went near straight up like the F14s there did making the Russians/Cubans think it was just another F14.
Nelson Hyde Chick
It is so encouraging to know we are work diligently to find new and innovative ways to kill one another!