Warplanes: August 26, 2000


: the Air-6000 program to replace the F-111s and FA-18s.--Stephen V Cole

Britain's Royal Air Force plans to introduce a new generation of air-launched weapons in order to keep up with expanding technology. While it was able to use laser-guided bombs during the Kosovo War, most of the time it could not do so due to bad weather and smokescreens generated by the Serbs. The new weapons include: 

@ Brimstone supersonic anti-armor missile, a development of the US Hellfire. This will provide a precision anti-tank capability to British tactical aircraft. Each weighs only 50kg, allowing most tactical aircraft (Tornado, Harrier, Eurofighter) to carry 18 of them on six hardpoints. Brimstone has a range of 8km when fired from low altitude. It will enter service in Oct 2001 and will replace cluster bombs as the primary means of attacking tanks.

@ Britain wants to buy GPS units to attach to laser-guided bombs by 2006.

@ Storm Shadow, a conventional stand-off missile, will enter service in 2002. Storm Shadow is a development of the French Apache area-denial weapon, which has a range of 140km. Storm Shadow weighs 1,300kg, and carries a tandem high-explosive BROACH warhead 250km. This weapon is designed to attack hardened bunkers and provide an alternative to Tomahawk for such targets. Harrier and Eurofighter can carry two Storm Shadows; Tornado attack planes can carry four. The missile uses GPS and terrain-matching. An imaging infrared sensor will provide precision point targeting.

@ Meteor, AMRAAM, and ASRAAM air-to-air missiles will begin to arm British fighters next year.

@ Britain has decided against the 27mm Mauser cannon, however, and the first 55 British Eurofighters will never fire their cannon, while later British Eurofighter will not even have them. Harriers will no longer carry their 25mm Aden cannon, despite the recent incidents in Sierra Leone in which Harriers without cannons could not protect British advisors on the ground.--Stephen V Cole

August 24, 2000; Norway's Chief of Defense General Sigurd Frisvold has recommended that the country acquire long-range cruise missiles after 2010. Frisvold says that with a smaller defense structure, Norway must have the means to solve some




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