August 17, 2004 12:55 PM US Eastern Timezone
EDO Demonstrates Next-Generation Weapon-Release Unit on B-1B Bomber
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 17, 2004--EDO Corporation (NYSE: EDO) has successfully demonstrated new B-1B pneumatic-ejection equipment during test flights at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The tests in July and August included the release of 500- and 2000-pound inert weapons from the aircraft.
The B-1B Pneumatic Assisted Release (PAR) initiative is a proof-of-concept demonstration to assess the benefits of an improved weapons carriage and release rack. The PAR equipment uses compressed air as the energy source for the ejection, rather than the pyrotechnic cartridges used in legacy ejector units. The tests are proving that the pneumatic rack provides consistent performance while reducing maintenance and logistics burdens.
"EDO Corporation has been the market leader in sophisticated aircraft-armament carriage and release systems for decades," said James M. Smith, EDO's chief executive officer. "We continue to invest in the advancement of weapon-interfacing systems, including this state-of-the-art pneumatic technology. The B-1B's substantial weapons-carrying capacity offers the potential for approximately 24 racks per aircraft."
EDO provides aircraft-armament equipment for many of the world's dominant military aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F/A-22, and Tornado. For the F/A-22, EDO has developed and produces the AMRAAM Vertical Eject Launcher (AVEL), which employs the company's pneumatic ejection technology. EDO is also developing a pneumatic suspension and release system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
In September 2002, the Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab (AEFB) contracted with EDO to supply the PAR rack and support all levels of ground and flight testing required to demonstrate this technology. The AEFB has also requested the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center to provide support to the PAR initiative by reporting on activities designed to demonstrate the military utility of PAR.
EDO's involvement with the B-1B bomber extends back more than 20 years, primarily through the development and deployment of its AN/ALQ-161 electronic self-protect system. The AN/ALQ-161 is one of the most sophisticated airborne electronic-warfare systems ever fielded, and has protected the B-1B in several recent conflicts with an outstanding performance record. EDO continues to provide logistical and operational support and is now assisting the Air Force with major hardware and software upgrades.
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Isnt the whole point of the pyrotechnic charges (12ga shells, arent they?) is that they work damn near 100% of the time, as long as electricity gets to the rack? Pneumatic release doesnt seem like it would be that reliable.