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Hard and/or Deeply Buried Target
Defeat Capability (HDBTDC) Program

Conventional explosive-filled penetrating weapons are often relatively ineffective in destroying large underground reinforced concrete facilities, even if the weapon detonates inside the facility, due to substantial interior walls and/or floors that confine the blast and fragmentation to a small area or result in complete and uncontrolled destruction of soft buried and aboveground facilities.

When these facilities protect WMD, the random use of conventional weapons greatly increases the risk of NBC agent dispersal that may result in extensive civilian or friendly force casualties. Agent neutralization will require key data needed to understand the collateral effects consequences of strikes against chemical and biological weapons-related facilities. The program also provides expelled agent viability experiments on bunker strike demonstration tests already planned under other programs.

This project will develop, integrate and demonstrate advanced conventional weapons technologies that will improve mission effectiveness against WMD facilities while minimizing collateral effects. These technologies include improvements in adverse weather/precision guidance, enhanced penetrating capabilities, and agent defeat payloads that can reduce collateral effects by neutralizing agents before they are released. Technologies that have been successfully demonstrated will be weaponized into prototype systems.

Current planning covers several phases of the Counterproliferation (CP) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). The Phase I ACTD target is a bermed above ground simulated biological storage facility. The Phase II target is a cut-and -cover simulated chemical production facility. The focus for Phase III and follow-on phases includes adverse-weather precision weapon guidance and advanced sensors for target characterization and BDA and enhanced weapon payloads to minimize collateral effects.

Advanced fuses will enable weapons employment options which maximize lethality and/or control collateral effects. Enhanced payloads will explore alternate warhead options to conventional blast/fragmentation with the objectives of minimizing collateral effects associated with dispersal of WMD materials while also minimizing the number of weapons required to functionally defeat WMD facilities. Functional defeat refers to eliminating a facility's capability to perform its intended function, even though the structure itself may remain largely intact. Capabilities established by this program directly support the development of payload upgrades.

The Air Force Agent Defeat Weapon Program was initiated in response to a Combat Air Force Mission Need Statement. The objective of the current Concept Exploration and Definition acquisition activity is to develop an agent defeat weapon to neutralize, destroy, or deny access or immobilize CW/ BW agents and their associated weapon and delivery systems. All agent defeat weapon concepts will minimize collateral damage and effects and be deliverable by current Air Force platforms. Key program accomplishments include forming an IPT structure, building a preliminary assessment framework, collecting weapon system concepts from industry and the DoD and DOE laboratories, construction of an empirical lethality model to determine the effectiveness of inventory and conceptual weapons systems against CW/ BW agents.

The Advanced Unitary Penetrator [AUP] hard target penetrator, designated the GBU-24 C/B (USAF) and GBU-24 D/B (Navy), features an elongated narrow diameter case made of a tough nickel-cobalt steel alloy called Air Force 1410. During July 1996 rocket-sled tests by the Air Force's Wright Laboratory Armaments Directorate the AUP successfully penetrated 11 feet of reinforced concrete, equivalent to over 100 feet of soil. It achieves its performance by increasing the area density (warhead weight divided by cross-sectional area) of the weapon. The AUP objective is twice the penetration capability of the BLU-109 class in order to provide a more reliable kill for hard buried targets containing WMD facilities.

The AUP would be used in conjunction with the Hard-Target Smart Fuse developed at the Wright lab. HTSF is a microcontroller-based, in line fuze designed to be physically and electrically compatible with GBU-10, GBU-15, GBU-24, GBU-27, GBU-28, AGM-130, and general purpose MK-80 series weapons. The HTSF was designed for current and future penetrator weapons to define the fuze function point as either a desired distance within a desired void or a depth of burial beneath a hard layer. It operates in one of three modes: hard-layer detection, void detection, and path-length integration. It also has an adjustable backup time delay that is set in 1-msec increments with a maximum delay of 250 msec. The HTSF uses a void sensing technique to count layers within a structure to initiate fuze function, a depth of burial mode that causes the fuze to function a preset distance after it senses a hard layer, and an integral time delay backup. Initial tests of the fuse in 1995 and 1996 at New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range were failures, though modifications are under development.

Related Systems

GBU-24

Sources and Resources



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