The U.S. Air Force's new short range attack missile (SRAM) is currently undergoing testing at?
The U.S. Air Force's new short range attack missile (SRAM) is currently undergoing testing at the White Sands missile range in New Mexico. In all, 41 test firings are planned. The missiles are being launched from B-52 bombers and FB-III fighter-bombers, at both sub and supersonic speeds.
The SRAM, a rocket-propelled, air-to-surface strategic missile,is designed to give the Strategic Air Command's bombers the ability to penetrate sophisticated enemy defences. Its main new feature is radar reflectivity. This lessens the chances of detection and the high speed of the missile presents quite a different threat from a ballistic re-entry vehicle.
The SRAM's range will alow it to be launched at a distance from the target, thus hopefully allowing the releasing aircraft to escape from enemy ground defence action.
By the end of September, 19 successful SRAM test launchings had taken place at the test range. When the system becomes operational, the B-52 can carry 12 missiles slung beneath its wing on two pylons, while eight can be carried internally.
The launching from the F-III shows the missile making a 180 degree turn, the first successful launch to a rear target.