The US Air Force has successfully tested a new anti-ship guided bomb QUICKSINK, which can break in half a medium-sized ship. This was reported by Aviacionline.
In the published video, the target ship hit by the bomb is thrown into the air and shattered, after which it sinks for 38 seconds.
In fact, QUICKSINK is not a new weapon. This is the name of a modification of guided bombs GBU-31 weighing 925 kg. In turn, the GBU-31 is a modified conventional unguided or free-falling bomb (also called “dumb bombs”) Mark 84 or BLU-117, which have been in service with US aircraft since the 1970s. The fact is that such twice-modified old weapons are becoming a very inexpensive alternative to high-precision missiles. And also more powerful.
Let’s look. The cost of the BLU-117 bomb is $4,100 in 2022 prices. The cost of the modification to GBU-31, i.e. the addition of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kit, which will turn a “dumb” bomb into a “smart” – about $ 25,000. The cost of the MGM-140 ATACMS missile is almost $1 million. Feel the difference!
The JDAM kit includes small wings, controlled fin assembly and a computer with an inertial guidance system paired with a GPS receiver. With a set of modifications, the discharge range of the BLU-117, which becomes GBU-31, increases to 28 km with a circular probable deviation of only 11 meters. At the same time, in February 2020, 430,000 JDAM kits for bombs of various weights were released.
Let’s go back to QUICKSINK. This is the next modification of JDAM, to which is added Weapon Open Systems Architecture (WOSA), which significantly increases the accuracy and already quite accurate bombs, allowing them to be used not only for static but also for moving purposes. Another important feature of WOSA is modularity and flexibility (after all, it is the Open Architecture of Weapon Systems), which allows you to use components from different manufacturers and reduce costs.
And now about the Crimean bridge. Whenever there is information about new Western weapons that have arrived in Ukraine, for example, M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS, or Brimstone high-precision missiles, Ukrainians immediately have questions about whether it is possible to use these weapons on the Crimean bridge. Unfortunately, almost everything we are given, even MGM-140 ATACMS that we probably won’t get, is not a powerful enough weapon to damage a bridge. It’s a really strong construction. Nothing will help except 9K79-1 Tochka-U with a warhead of 482 kg, but it lacks range.
Another thing is the GBU-31 itself with 429 kg of triton. First, they are used with a large number of NATO aircraft: the famous A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, B-1B Lancer bombers, B-2A Spirit, B-52H Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle fighters/bombers, F-16AM/BM/C/D Fighting Falcon, CF-18 Hornet, F/A-18A+/A++/C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. Secondly – with drones MQ-9 Reaper.
And if we are talking about drones. It seems that GBU-31 or GBU-31 QUICKSINK can, after a simple fit, be used with Turkish heavy drones Baykar Bayraktar Akıncı (load capacity 1350 kg) or TAI Aksungur (load capacity 750 kg). And in this case targeting the Crimean bridge looks quite real. Will Turkey provide such drones to Ukraine? Why not, it seems that the Armed Forces of Ukraine advertised Bayraktar TB2 very successfully.
Or should we wait until we get MQ-9 Reaper under lend-lease?