EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --- A B-1B Lancer test crew here recently dropped the Joint Standoff Weapon for the first time from the long-range bomber, according to Air Force Flight Test Center officials here.
The four-person global power bomber combined test force flight team from the 419th Flight Test Squadron released two standoff weapons as part of ongoing separation testing on the Lancer. The weapon is intended to provide a low-cost, highly lethal glide weapon with a standoff capability which allows aircrews to hit a target from a distance, reducing the risk from enemy defenses, officials said.
The JSOW family of air-to-surface glide weapons has a range of 12 nautical miles at low altitudes and as much as 63 nautical miles at high-altitudes, according to program office experts.
Ultimately, Tom said it is the operators in the field who will benefit from the new standoff weapons capability. It is slated to be used against a variety of land and sea targets and will operate from ranges outside enemy point defenses.
Test force experts are also evaluating the vibration and acoustic environment of the B-1B's bomb bays with the new weapons and with various weapons-bay door configurations, said Maj. Brian Tom, a weapon system officer on the mission.
The team is also performing similar tests using the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.
Testing on both weapons is also relying on the B-1B's new Block E1 avionics software for the first part of the test program, Tom said. The bomber team is evaluating the software as part of a separate, ongoing test program.
Previous testing on this new software allowed team members to successfully use it during the recent drop, he said. Tom serves as the project weapon system officer for both the E1 software test program and the integration tests. New integration software testing will begin in August, according to program officials.
Maintenance is a huge part of our success, he said. Our maintainers have kept us on track, and we haven't lost a single sortie since we started testing.