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The Bomb with Switchblade Wings

3 April 2013

The Bomb with Switchblade Wings

The planar wings as well as large fins were part of the testing for extending the range from the attack aircraft of a free falling 2000 pound bomb — photo by Joseph May

Part of the overall program area of the Modular Guided Glide Bomb (MGGB), this experimental weapon kit did not make it into production but, if it had, it would have had the designation of GBU-20 — though, during testing it was known as the Planar Wing Weapon. Essentially, a longer glide range was sought for more stand-off capability than the standard glide bomb unit (GBU) technology. GBUs are kits affixed to standard bombs (here a 2000 pound bomb) to enhance range and accuracy with the attachment of outsized fins (for range and control), seeker unit (IR or electro-optical) as well as a control unit. The technology in this unit also incorporated wings atop the bomb which would flip outward shortly, after release, much like switchblades — the addition of wings, it was thought, would enhance the range of the weapon. Reports about the testing results could not be found though they are sure to be out there.

This view best shows how the  flip out wings were bolted to the weapon, as well as the fins — photo by Joseph May

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