The system the two companies developed works this way: It attaches a small diameter bomb known as a GBU-39B in front of a M26 rocket. The GBU-39B is widely used by the US military, while the M26 rocket is expected to be demilitarized by 2018 and can be recycled instead of thrown away.
The weapon is designed to be launched out of a multiple launch rocket system that is already in use, which means a new launch system wouldn’t have to be designed.
Both companies are looking at the new system as a low-cost alternative that uses materials already available that has been already tested and wouldn’t take too long to put together, says Defense News.
“These are technologies that are already in use,” said Beth Kluba, vice president for Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems. “It's off-the-shelf technology. That really drives the risk down for this new capability.”
It is designed to fly around terrain to hit targets on the back of mountains, for instance, or come back around to attack a target behind the launch vehicle. Designers say it would have a range of close to 100 miles.
“This is not developmental, it's not PowerPoint,” Kluba tells Defense News. “It's hardware, it exists, and through our investment (in research and development) we're able to bring this capability to the war fighter very quickly.”
Kluba says that while the US Army is interested in the system, she declined to name other potential buyers.