Moroccan F-16s getting smart bomb release system to expand firepower

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Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16 fighters will be able to double the amount of smart weapons they can carry thanks to new L3Harris smart bomb release systems.

L3Harris Technologies in mid-December announced a $29 million contract to provide 105 smart weapon release systems to Morocco, Jordan and Bahrain.

The Bomb Release Unit (BRU)-57/A allows F-16s to carry two smart weapons on each system instead of one, doubling munitions capacity. It is compatible with 500 pound (225 kg) and 1 000-pound (450 kg) guided weapons.

“Our release systems provide extra offensive capabilities while giving commanders the versatility to deploy the right firepower for every mission,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “These combat-proven systems provide munitions overmatch and allows mission commanders to send the right weapon at the right time to the right target.”

Tailorable to mission requirements, the release systems provide ground crews the flexibility to add or remove smart weapons capabilities on F-16s. Adding two additional smart munitions on each F-16 mean commanders can reduce the number of aircraft on a strike mission and provide more time on station with fewer returns to base for rearming, L3Harris said.

The Royal Moroccan Air Force flies 23 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft that it received from 2011 to 2012 (one was lost over Yemen during operations as part of the Saudi-led coalition). The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency approved the upgrade of these aircraft to the latest F-16V Block 70/72 standard. In March 2019, the US State Department approved the sale of 25 new F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft.