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Locally made next-gen warheads delivered to RAAF

written by Staff reporter | January 20, 2022

Armament Technicians from No. 3 Squadron load a new Australian manufactured Bomb Live Unit (BLU-111) configured as a Guided Bomb Unit (GBU-12) onto F-35A Lightning II aircraft A35-040 at RAAF Base Williamtown. (Defence / CPL Craig Barrett)

The Royal Australian Air Force has taken delivery of new highly explosive next-generation warheads that were manufactured in Australia.

The Bomb Live Unit or BLU-111(AUS)B/B warheads have been delivered to No. 3 Squadron of the No. 81 Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown.

The 500-pound (227-kilogram) high-explosive warheads were configured by armament technicians as a Paveway II laser guided bomb before being loaded onto the F-35A Lightning II for a training drill.

The BLU-111(AUS)B/B warheads, built with improved safety characteristics, will replace the Mk82 500lb explosives.

The Australian warheads are a product of a joint project between the US government and Australian manufacturer Australian Munitions.

The next-generation warheads are expected to be used as the primary 500lb high-explosive warhead for RAAF operations and training exercises.

“The BLU-111(AUS)B/B is intended for use in both Paveway II laser guided bombs and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) family of guided bombs,” AIR 6000 Weapons project engineering manager, Squadron Leader Ryan Kell, said.

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“The development and production of the BLU-111(AUS)B/B has been an ongoing collaboration between the United States government, Defence and Australian industry, specifically the manufacturer, Australian Munitions.”

Local production of the BLU-111(AUS)B/B commenced following the successful delivery of the BLU-126(AUS)/B, 500lb low-collateral bomb, which demonstrated capacity to produce reduced sensitivity warheads using locally manufactured ingredients for the explosive fill.

SQNLDR Kell noted the benefits of sovereign munitions production.

“The design is based on the US manufactured BLU-111B/B but has been tailored to meet Australian production methods while providing improved safety characteristics,” SQNLDR Kell said.

The MoD said that Australia could begin manufacturing its BLU-111(AUS)B/B missiles for foreign customers in the future.

Article courtesy of Defence Connect.

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