AFRL Century Series – Chapter 4: PRECISION
Bombing is complicated. Airspeed, direction, wind, and atmospheric conditions all affect the falling munition. The inaccuracy of bombing systems during World War II demanded the deployment of large bombing armadas, resulting in heavy bomber and crew losses and civilian casualties.
During the Vietnam War, research led by AFRL’s Munitions Directorate and its predecessor labs lead to the development of the first laser-guided bomb, and in the 1990s, AFRL created the Joint Direct Attack Munition. Today, development and testing is underway on the next generation precision guided weapon, the Small Diameter Bomb.
Saturation bombing and massive collateral loss is no longer necessary for the destruction of high-value targets. AFRL’s development of highly accurate precision munitions saves lives on the ground and reduces the risk to aircraft and their crew.