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Pretty awesome idea, although I can see some envy from the bomber folks when transport pilots start launching stand-off weapons :nod:
Air Force Eyes "Bomb Bay In A Box" To Rapidly Turn Airlifters Into Flying Weapon Trucks
A palletized munition system would allow the Air Force to turn its cargo aircraft into low-cost strike platforms.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK
APRIL 17, 2020
he U.S. Air Force is looking into conducting experiments involving palletized dispensers for stand-off munitions that could rapidly turn airlifters, such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-17 Globemaster III, into heavily armed weapons trucks. This could offer a relatively low-cost and low-risk path toward increasing the service's capacity to launch large scale strikes across a broad area during a major conflict.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) first announced it was interested in gathering information on existing palletized munition concepts or proposed for new designs in February 2020. AFRL's Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office, or SDPE, said it was looking for information on "potential availability ... [of] systems suitable to support prototype experimentation" in both "ground and flight tests."
"The ability to mass firepower in future conflicts increases the range of OPLAN execution options against peer adversaries. Delivering standoff type weapons in mass, from non-traditional delivery platforms, is one potential option to deliver mass firepower and could prove pivotal in future conflicts," SPDE's February request for information explained. "The concept of 'a bomb bay in a box,' where mobility aircraft air drop multiple, independent munitions from outside of a threat area could augment traditional delivery methods."
The contracting notice does not specify a particular type of aircraft, but does say the "concept seeks to capitalize on current airlift capability to increase delivery of massed firepower." Proposed designs also have to employ a "roll-on-roll-off deployment design (i.e. palletized options)" and use "use conventional airdrop infrastructure/techniques" indicating that munitions would exit the aircraft via a rear ramp. The Air Force's primarily airlifters at present are the C-130 and the C-17, both of which have a rear ramp and would ideal candidates to carry such a system. Any system that works on both of those aircraft would also be able to be utilized in conjunction with the larger C-5 Galaxy, if desired, as well.
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