On April 14, 2018, two sinister black jets took off from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar early in the morning. The huge B-1b Lancer bombers were called “bones” because their fuselages were shaped like a snake. This was done in the 1970s to make them less visible on Radar.
However, the B1 stealth characteristics rapidly proved obsolescent due to Advancements in radar technology.
Indeed a lone Marine Corps EA 6B Prowler jet joined the two-ship element of the 34th bomber Squadron, likely to provide radar jamming support.
Washington dispatched the four-engine jets to punish the Syrian government for what appeared to be an April 4 chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held community. They sped towards Damascus, the capital of Syria, over a thousand miles to the northwest.
Nevertheless, the Syrian Airspace is defended by a vast integrated air defence network consisting of Radar and surface-to-air missile batteries. In addition, the Russian military has deployed more advanced and longer-range s 400 and s-300 V4 surface-to-air missiles that might be used for intervention.
Even with their slightly reduced radar cross-section and jamming support, they risked detection if they approached too closely.
So the bomber’s Four-person Crews instead used a different Ploy, likely around 200 miles away from their target the b1s released 19 AGM-158a joint air-to-surface standoff missiles Jason from their Bomb bays.
As the weapons descended to Earth, their eight-foot-wide wings unfolded, and turbojet engines began to splutter. The four-meter-long missiles stabilized a few dozen meters above ground and accelerated towards their target at around the speed of a conventional jetliner, following a flight path calculated to loop around elevated terrain and enemy radars using a jam-resistant GPS and an inertial navigation system.
The missiles could land within a three-meter radius of the target more than half of the time, thanks to an embedded infrared seeker that compared the building’s profile to a 3D model on board.
In two minutes, starting at four a.m., all 19 2250-pound missiles struck the research and development center’s bars just outside Damascus’s heavily defended Airspace.
Their thousand-pound wdu-42 penetrator fragmentation Warheads pierced through the roofs of the target buildings before detonating.
An additional 57 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by surface warships And the Virginia class submarine John Warner contributed to the onslaught.
The Western spy services tracked down the Syrian research facility responsible for designing and manufacturing chemical weapons.
However, the Syrian government insists that no chemical weapons were found during an inspection by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in November 2017.
The three central buildings were completely destroyed, and dozens of missiles were presumably an overkill strategy to make the hit appear larger than the attack.
However, no lives were lost because the building was evacuated before the attack.
Although the strike may have used too much Firepower, it was nevertheless significant because it was the first time the JASSM had been used in combat. A mechanism that will be crucial to the American military in the next few decades.
Cruise missiles with stealth technology.
During the 1990s, the Air Force concluded it needed a standoff stealth cruise missile with a smaller radar cross-section.
After a competition in 1998, Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 prototype was chosen, but the program had several setbacks in the following years.
By 2009, after 16 failed tests, a redesigned design had been implemented, and production of the weapon had begun. Using a j-402 turbojet engine, the 230-mile-ranged base model AGM-158a is currently in use in Syria.
Despite sharing the same dimensions and roughly 70% of the same components, the AGM-158b JASSM extended Range variant has a significantly longer effective range. Increased fuel capacity and a more efficient F-107 turbofan engine more than double its range to 620 miles.
However, the upgrade increases the price from eight hundred thousand dollars to over 1.3 million dollars.
A maximum of 24 Chasm can be mounted in internal rotary launchers on a single b1b, 16 inside a B2 stealth bomber, and 12 or 20 on a b-52h.
Smaller f-15e, F-16, and fa-18 fighter jets can carry one or two, and it’s expected that the F-35 lightning II will Be certified to carry them externally. However, it won’t be especially stealthy when doing so.
Fa-18 hornets fly the missile in Finland and Australia and f-16s in Poland. The Navy is also fielding an anti-ship variant of the AGM-158c called the long-range anti-ship missile LRASM, which could one day replace the aging Harpoon missile on Surface warships and Super Hornet Fighters.
The jassm missile allows the U.S. military to deliver highly precise surprise attacks against targets already well protected by enemy air defenses.
Indeed enemy air defense Radar and missile batteries would likely be one of their Chief Targets in the opening phases of conflict, Paving the way for additional attacks by more vulnerable fourth-generation Jets using cheaper, shorter-range weapons.
AGM-158s might also be used for strikes On well-defended high-value targets such as headquarters, missile silos, power and communication centers, and Fuel and weapons Depots.
The air force is also looking to exploit the jassm ER’s stealthy long endurance characteristics for other roles. Lockheed Martin began researching a new Wing design in March 2016 to increase the aircraft’s range.
In September 2018, the corporation was awarded a contract to develop an extreme-range variant of the AGM-158. The weapon would weigh about 2310kg 910-kilogram Warhead out to a range of 1900 kilometers.
Originally called the jassm XR and later designated the AGM-158 B2, Unit costs are $1.5M due to upgrades like a new missile control unit, redesigned wings, a special paint job, a GPS receiver secure and hard to hack, and other safeguarding measures.
As formidable long-range anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles capable of threatening entire regions increase globally, the Jassm would serve as an opening Gambit to help U.S. aircraft defang those threats from a safe distance.
The anti-access area denial problem.
China and Russia have begun deploying long-range missiles that can threaten access to huge swaths of Airspace or large spans of international waters.
Such anti-access area denial weapons include the Chinese df-21d anti-ship ballistic missile. This ground-based weapon can threaten aircraft carriers at a greater distance than the combat radius of the carrier’s onboard attack Jets and the s-400 surface-to-air missile system, which can shoot long-range 40 and 6 missiles at Targets up to 250 miles away.
The Russian s 400 battery deployed in Latakia, Syria, can theoretically threaten the Airspace directly above the British Air Base and Acro teary Cyprus and the U.S Air Base in Incirlik, Turkey.
While stealth aircraft can potentially infiltrate an air defense system and attempt to take out such weapons, they’re still at risk of eventual detection by low bandwidth Radars and for red sensors and even high bandwidth engagement Radars at Short distances.
Therefore it’s desirable to find a means to strike in such anti-access systems from a standoff range beyond the adversary’s ability to retaliate.
Since the 1990s, the United States has extensively used Tomahawk cruise missiles that can strike targets hundreds of miles away. But the tomahawk’s more observable on Radar and can be shot down though Syrian air defenses do not appear to have had much success shooting down tomahawks in both U.S strikes in 2017 and 2018.