MQ-9 Reaper drops first GPS-guided weapon

  • Published
  • By Laura McGowan
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A test team with the 658th Aeronautical Systems Squadron completed the first Global Positioning System guided weapons release from an MQ-9 Reaper May 13 at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, Calif.

The efforts of the pilots, sensor operators, maintainers, weapons troops and testers culminated in six successful guided bomb unit-49 weapon releases in one day. 

The first two drops were inert weapons to ensure the GBU-49's GPS guidance was working properly. The final release employed four weapons at one time, also known as a ripple, with three weapons on GPS guidance and the fourth weapon guided by laser. The three GPS weapons "shacked" (a successful, direct hit on a ground target) their targets and the laser-guided weapon came very close.

The GBU-49 is a laser-guided, 500-pound bomb much like the GBU-12, but it also includes an on-board GPS kit. The GBU-49 provides the warfighter an all-weather capability to employ a munition with precision without the aid of a laser designator.

(Steve Yamaguchi contributed to this article)

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