British aerospace and defence firm Cobham has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to manufacture and supply bomb racks to attach to the wings of United States Air Force jet fighters.
The BRU-61/A Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Racks will be used to support operations using the GBU-39 SDBs, which have been in service since 2006 and equip the USAF’s fleet of F-15E Strike Eagle combat jets.
A follow-up to the GBU-39, the GBU-52 SDB II, is currently in production and was covered in a 2010 AFI News Item.
Cobham will now supply over 400 BRU-61/A racks to the USAF, supplementing the 1,400+ already produced by the company and in use at locations around the world.
BRU-61/A Small Diameter Bomb Rack
Each BRU-61/A Small Diameter Bomb Rack can be loaded with four SDBs, maximising the weapons load per individual F-15E Strike Eagle sortie. The rack features pneumatic components that fire off the GBU-39s with shots of compressed air. This approach supersedes older weapons racks designs that employed pyrotechnic cartridges.
As an in-service Multi-Stores Carriage System, the BRU-61A has seen extensive combat service since its introduction to the USAF, especially in Iraq, where numerous close air support missions have been flown.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is an enhanced version of the original F-15A Eagle air superiority fighter, which first flew in 1972. Inducted into the USAF in 1988, the Strike Eagle has seen action over Iraq, Afghanistan and, at present, is one of the types deployed to enforce the Libyan no-fly zone.
Cobham Bomb Rack Contract
“The BRU-61/A is a much safer system that requires significantly less logistical support, maintenance and repair when compared with legacy systems,” Cobham Mission Equipment’s president, Iain Gibson, said in a press release covering the Cobham bomb rack contract.
“Cobham has been supplying this system to Boeing for seven years, with an outstanding delivery and performance record, and we are confident they will continue to choose Cobham as a trusted supplier.”
Cobham has been around since the mid-1930s, known then as Flight Refuelling Limited. It was FRL that pioneered the ‘probe and drogue’ approach to mid-air refuelling but, these days, the Cobham organisation has diversified into specific defence capability areas. These include Avionics and Surveillance, Defence Systems and Mission Systems.
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