December 4, 2007:
ago, the U.S. Air Force successfully ground tested a Hard Target Smart Fuze
(HTSF). The new fuze could detect when it had passed through hard material and
entered an empty space, and do this for as many times as it is programmed to
before detonating. The purpose of the HTSF was to destroy material in a
multilevel bunker. If it is known that the material to be destroyed is in a
certain level of an underground bunker, the HTSF can be set to explode the bomb
at that level, after simply penetrating the other levels. But when the fuze was
flight tested a few months later, there were problems. Several years of trying
to fix the problems led to the termination of the program.
Still needing an HTSF, the air
force has been forced to buy one from a German firm, that has had it available
for over six years. The German PIMPF (Programmable Intelligent Multi-Purpose
Fuze) is used in the German/Swedish Taurus KEPD 350 stealth cruise missile, and
can be used on just about any bomb or missile. The PIMPF has been offered to
the U.S. Air Force all through the development of the FMU-159/B Hard Target
Smart Fuze. But there is great resistance to buying foreign military equipment
or weapons, especially in the United States. Partially, it's about politics.
Locally built stuff means more jobs for Americans. However, the United States
has wasted billions over the years, trying to build stuff that was already
available from foreign suppliers. Americans also tend to forget that the U.S.
is the biggest arms exporter in the world, and that trade has created millions
of jobs for Americans. But that sort of thing works both ways, a reality that
tends to be recognized when the situation is desperate.