The Harriers of the Spanish Navy launch GBU-54 smart bombs for the first time

The Boeing AV8B + Harrier II fighter-bombers of the 9th Squadron of the Spanish Navy launched the GBU-54 LJDAM intelligent ammunition system for the first time in Spain.

This is a kit of the last generation from the North American company Boeing, which is highly efficient for air-to-ground attack operations and is the main task of the ninth squadron. This armament could be incorporated after the last modernization of the Harrier II. It is ammunition that the Air Force does not have, so its use in Spain is a novelty.

This milestone takes place as part of the semi-annual firing maneuvers of the Harrier II of the 9th Squadron at the shooting range of Bardenas Reales (Navarre). To carry out this exercise, the aircraft, personnel and resources of this unit will travel from its base in Rota (Cdiz), the headquarters of the Aircraft Flotilla (FLOAN) in which it is located, to the Zaragoza Air Force Base. There, the personnel (pilots, mechanics, gunsmiths, etc.) of the 9th Squadron meticulously planned and developed the simulation of an air support campaign or CAS (Close Air Support) against simulated targets.

During the maneuvers, as usual, they used inert training ammunition such as the MK-76 bomblets, LGTR (Laser Guided Training Round) smart weapons, and the GAU12 25mm Gatling can carried by the Harrier II. . In the second phase of this exercise, real weapons were launched and the GBU (Guided Bomb Unit) -54 LJDAM (Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition) system, a laser and GPS guidance kit, was used for the first time. Thanks to this Boeing system, the conventional 500-pound MK-82 bombs (226.7 kilograms) are converted into high-precision intelligent weapons that, unlike the GBU-38, which also uses the, can also be used against moving targets Ninth.

The advantages of this ammunition are many, as it can hit targets day and night and in any weather. In addition to the multiplication of the starting distance, it achieves above all a high level of precision, which reduces brother burn and collateral losses. . This armament is already in the Navy’s arsenal, but the units received from the United States have so far remained in the Rota powder magazines, some of which have been moved to Zaragoza to be used in the real shot mentioned above, a fundamental step for their effective use in the event that they need to be used in a conflict.

The main objective of this expedition to Zaragoza is to give shooting lessons both day and night as well as practice with the target designation teams or the TACP (Tactical Air Control Party). This type of ammunition can be controlled by the Northrop Grumman AN / AAQ-28 (V) Litening model target designation pods used by the Navy. In one of the photos, one is installed under the hull of one of the Harriers. Participant, behind is the reddish stage of Bardenas Reales. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: One of the Harrier II flies over the characteristic landscape of the Bardenas Reales. (Navy Photo).

USAF gunsmiths arm one of their fighter-bombers with GBU-54 intelligent ammunition. (USAF photo).

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