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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The CBU-97 consists of an SUU-66/B tactical munition dispenser that contains 10 BLU-108 submunitions. Each submunition contains four hockey-puck-shaped sensor-fused projectiles called Skeets. These detect targets, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks and other support vehicles, and fire an expl osively formed penetrator...

The 40 Skeets scan an area of 1,500 feet (460 m) by 500 feet (150 m) using infrared and laser sensors, seeking targets by pattern-matching. When a Skeet finds a target it fires an explosively-formed penetrator to destroy it. If a Skeet fails to find a target, it self-destructs 50 feet (15 m) above the ground; if this fails, a back-up timer disables the Skeet. These features are intended to avoid hurting civilians later, and result in an unexploded-ordnance rate of less than 1%.
As the CBU-97 approaches its designated aim-point, the dispenser skin is severed into three panels by an explosive cutting charge. The slipstream peels away these panels, exposing the 10 BLU-108 submunitions. An airbag ejects the forward five submunitions, then five in the aft bay. Following a preset timeline, the submunitions deploy parachutes so that they are spaced about 100 feet (30 m) apart. Then each submunition releases its chute, fires a rocket motor that stops its descent and spins it on its longitudinal axis, and releases pairs of Skeets 90 degrees apart. Each spinning Skeet makes a coning motion that allows it to scan a circular area on the ground.
The laser sensor detects changes in height such as the distinctive contour of a vehicle. At the same time, infrared sensors detect heat signatures, such as those emitted by the engine of a target vehicle. When the combination of height contours and heat signatures indicative of a target are detected, the Skeet detonates, firing an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) into the target vehicle at high speed, enabling it to penetrate armor plating and destroy what is underneath the armor plating. Note that SFW disables targets using the kinetic energy of the EFP, not the blast of an explosive charge.
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