General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) was awarded a contract, worth around $265 million, for MK80 and BLU-109 Tritonal bomb components.
The firm-fixed-price contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) located at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2023.
Mark 80 (Mk80) series General-purpose (GP) bomb
Mark 80 series are the primary general-purpose (GP) bombs used by the U.S. Armed Forces. The Mark 80 series was not used in combat until the Vietnam War, but has since replaced most earlier GP weapons. It includes four basic weapon types:
• Mark 81 – nominal weight 250 pounds (113 kg)
• Mark 82 – nominal weight 500 pounds (227 kg)
• Mark 83 – nominal weight 1,000 pounds (454 kg)
• Mark 84 – nominal weight 2,000 pounds (907 kg)
The BLU-109/B is a 2,000-pound class hardened penetration bomb used by the U.S. Armed Forces (BLU is an acronym for Bomb Live Unit).
The BLU-109/B has a steel casing about 1 inch (25.4 mm) thick, filled with 530 lb (240 kg) of Tritonal. It has a delayed-action tail-fuze.
As with other “bunker busters”, it is intended to smash through concrete shelters and other hardened structures before exploding. This weapon can penetrate 4–6 feet of reinforced concrete, which is greater than the 3 foot capability of the Small Diameter Bomb.
The BLU-109 entered service in 1985. In addition to the US, it is part of the armament of the air forces of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.
The BLU-109 is not likely to be retired anytime soon, due to the much larger blast capable from its warhead.
Tritonal is a mixture of 80% TNT and 20% aluminium powder, used in several types of ordnance such as air-dropped bombs. The aluminium improves the total heat output and hence impulse of the TNT — the length of time during which the blast wave is positive. Tritonal is approximately 18% more powerful than TNT alone.