The United States has conducted a test of a new ‘quicksink’ bomb that is designed to destroy enemy warships from the air.
On April 28, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Integrated Test Team at Eglin Air Force Base illustrated what an attack on a warship in conflict with the US may look like.
The munitions were tested against a cargo ship in the Gulf of Mexico, which was broken in half and sunk.
The modified quicksink bomb was fired by an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter, which successfully struck the target by detonating a GPS-navigated bomb beneath the vessel.
On US Air Force platforms, the new technology gives the US Air Force torpedo-like kill capabilities.
Joint Direct Attack Munition, a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into all-weather precision-guided munitions, was utilized in the experiment.
With the help of a GPS-assisted Internal Navigation System, they were adapted to engage moving targets.
While torpedoes are typically employed to sink enemy ships, such an attack reveals the submarine’s location, exposing it to counterattack.
“A Navy submarine has the ability to launch and destroy a ship with a single torpedo at any time,” said Kirk Herzog, AFRL program manager. “But the ‘Quicksink’ [Joint Capability Technology Demonstration] aims to develop a low-cost method of achieving torpedo-like kills from the air at a much higher rate and over a much larger area,” he added.
Colonel Tony Meeks, director of the AFRL’s Munitions Directorate, said, “Quicksink is an answer to an urgent need to neutralize maritime threats to freedom around the world.”
The test was carried out in collaboration with AFRL, the 96th Test Wing’s 780th Test Squadron, and the 53rd Wing’s 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron.
“AFRL scientists and engineers are developing a weapon open systems architecture, or WOSA, seeker to enable precise placement of the weapon,” according to an AFRL release. “Heavy-weight torpedoes are effective [at sinking large ships] but are expensive and employed by a small portion of naval assets,’ said Major Andrew Swanson, 85th TES division chief of Advanced Programs.”
When compared to the risk of losing a submarine to enemy retaliation following a torpedo attack, a Quicksink bomb involves relatively low-cost aircraft.
In the end, the weapon gives US warfighters greater options in warfare.
Stakeholders were able to view the Quicksink demonstration live on the internet when it was launched over the Gulf of Mexico, where Eglin operates the 120,000-square-mile Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range.
According to Aero Corner, a single F-15EX costs $87.7 million each aircraft, whereas a US submarine can cost up to $2.8 billion per unit.
Warships also usually do not possess armor beneath the waterline, with only a few vessels equipped with anti-air capability.