Two more Command videos: JDAM party and AL-1 ABL at work

May 27, 2011 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Our internal QA team has been busy testing the recent additions to Command, and two new videos have sprang from their explorations. Let’s take a look. (Watch at HD for best detail).

This depicts a hypothetical attack on Tripoli airport by a single B-2A Blk30. The stealth bomber is armed with 80 (yes, eighty) GBU-38 JDAM 500lb bombs and is releasing all of them on a single pass; each of the bombs is self-guided and thus multiple aimpoints can be struck concurrently. As can be surmised from the loss list at the end of the video (this doesn’t included damaged facilities), the infrastructure damage on the airport by this single bombing pass is significant. Overhead imagery of the airport (courtesy of Bing Maps) is used at certain zoom levels to more clearly illustrate the facilities being attacked.


The second video depicts a patrol of two AL-1 airborne laser aircraft around the critical Al-Udeid military complex in Qatar. The video starts as a swarm of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles are detected rising from Iranian territory, in a multi-axis attack. The AL-1s are assigned the missiles as targets, and get to work. Notice that the horizontal speed of the incoming missiles is rapidly accelerating (the missiles are gradually tipping towards apogee), making targeting for the lasers increasingly difficult.

At some point towards the end of the video, the surviving missile contacts seem to disappear. This is because until this point the missiles were tracked by the IR sensors onboard the AL-1 aircraft, via their very strong (IR signature-wise) boost plumes. Now however the boost phase is over, and the warheads separate from the rest of the body. The AL-1 aircraft cannot track the warheads or any other part of the missile post-boost, so they are effectively out of the fight. (This is in fact one of the major operational shortcomings of this system). Normally at this point ATBM-capable SAM systems near the base (THAAD and/or PAC-3) would be tasked to destroy the incoming warheads.