MBDA Inc. said its GBU-44/E Viper Strike munition launched from a Cessna Caravan test aircraft scored direct hits against high speed vehicles in a recent two-day test.
During a U.S. government sponsored test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Viper Strike successfully hit eight vehicles traveling at extremely high speeds in varying realistic scenarios.
“This proven high speed target attack capability is a game changer for warfighters that need to hit very fast vehicles with great precision and from any direction of attack” said Tom Bien, Viper Strike’s program manager.
Viper Strike has been used in combat by both manned and unmanned aircraft, and will deploy next on the Marines’ KC-130J Harvest Hawk aircraft.
It is launched from a common launch tube that can be carried either internally or externally from the host aircraft, helicopter or unmanned aerial vehicle.
Viper Strike is a glide munition capable of precisely hitting targets from extended stand-off ranges using GPS-aided navigation and an end-game, semi-active laser seeker. Its small, 44-lb. highly agile airframe and quiet attack profile provides a covert launch and low collateral damage effects against stationary and high speed moving targets. Using Viper Strike’s new fast-attack software, the weapon has proven that it can be quickly employed against moving targets by both air-designated and ground-designated targets.
Viper Strike is in production at MBDA Inc.’s Huntsville, Ala., facility. Jerry Agee, president and CEO of MBDA Inc., said, “Viper Strike is performing exceptionally well in test and combat environments. We’re pleased to get this weapon in the hands of our warfighters to aid them against their most challenging, high-speed targets.”
MBDA is jointly held by BAE Systems with 37.5 percent, EADS with 37.5 percent, and Finmeccanica holds 25 percent.