Harriers Go Digital: New technology allows Marine aircraft to expand mission

Mar 3, 2015

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NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – A  U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier flew its first mission with the new BRU-70/A Digital Improved Triple Ejector Rack (DITER) in support of the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in January.

A single aircraft delivered 50 percent of the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) used during the insurgent airstrike due to the new rack.

“The addition of the Digital ITER to our AV-8s in theater really up-guns the capability of that jet allowing it to carry a lot more precision ordnance,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation. “This wouldn't have been possible without the NAVAIR team's steadfast support.”

In December, Marines in theater requested accelerated delivery of assets in order to maximize current mission capability. The production units were originally scheduled for delivery in June.

NAVAIR’s Precision Strike Weapons (PMA-201) program office, specifically its Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE) team and AV-8B Weapon Systems program office (PMA-257) class desk developed a plan to deliver four flight-test units to meet the Marines’ needs. These units were previously used in the test and evaluation of the rack prior to production contract award.

Delivery of these units required further evaluation to ensure fleet operational readiness. The NAVAIR team executed all required testing and documentation necessary for delivery in one month.

During its first mission, the rack performed as designed. The aircraft deployed four Laser JDAMs from two DITERs.

Soon, Harriers with DITER will be capable of carrying three JDAMs on each rack depending on the mission requirement and armament configuration.

“The Marines are anxiously awaiting the delivery of their BRU-70/A DITER in June,” said Navy Capt. Jaime Engdahl, PMA-201 program manager. “This urgent requirement with the use of the Laser JDAM is unprecedented capability for the Harrier community.”

The DITER provides Harriers with a smart weapon triple-carriage and employment capability, while retaining the legacy stores interface, prolonging and expanding the aircraft’s mission.

The upgraded carriage and release technology will replace the existing BRU-42 system. The Harrier’s current weapon load-out configuration allows the aircraft to carry a maximum of two Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM). The addition of the DITER expands the aircraft’s ability to carry six, increasing mission effectiveness.

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