On July 14 old and new came together to demonstrate emerging capabilities in airpower.
The 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., with support from the 2d Bomb Wing and a host of other units, flew a 17.3-hour roundtrip mission to strike a target in the Pacific Ocean using one of the newest capabilities in the Air Force inventory.
“This was the first time a Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition has ever been released from a B-52,” said Maj. Steve Walden, 49th TES aircraft commander. “It combines the persistence and range of the bomber with the flexibility and precision of the Laser JDAM to enhance the Combat Air Force’s ability to strike moving targets accurately.”
According to Boeing’s Web site, the Laser JDAM sensor is a modular kit installed to the front of existing JDAMs to further enhance the weapon and allow for moving target attacks at a relative low cost.
Although located at Barksdale, the 49 TES reports to the 53d Test and Evaluation Group at Nellis AFB, Nev., and ultimately to the 53d Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla.
The demonstration showed the almost routine global power, global reach capability using a leading edge weapon on the CAF’s older jet, said Col. Steve DePalmer, 53d Wing commander. “The Buff continues to roll.”
This mission was part of an initial LJDAM demonstration with the B-52 to show the aircraft’s ability to intercept moving targets on the sea or land.
“I felt fortunate to be a part of this demonstration and was pleased the weapon released and performed as advertised,” said the major with approximately 2,500 flying hours. “It is always exciting to be a part of any mission that can showcase improvements in the capabilities of our diverse platform.”
A second demonstration is planned for the fall when the 49th TES will demonstrate using the LJDAM against a ground moving target.
Carrie L. Kessler