At People’s Liberation Army Navy headquarters all up and down the Chinese coast, hundreds of officers just peed themselves a little:
When a high-altitude B-52H bomber dropped a Quickstrike naval mine on September 23, 2014, something extraordinary happened: instead of falling into the sea below, the mine glided to a splashdown 40 nautical miles away. The reason? The mine had wings.
It was a hybrid weapon, a combination of a Quickstrike mine and JDAM, or Joint Direct Attack Munition, the clever concept that attaches fins and GPS guidance to conventional “dumb” bombs, thus turning them into cheap guided bombs. This Quickstrike mine had been fitted with JSAM-ER, which slips actual wings on to the weapons, enabling it to glide long distances. The new weapon, designated GBU-62B(V-1)/B Quickstrike-ER, has a range of 40 nautical miles when launched from 35,000 feet.
Welcome to the advent of the stand-off mine.
“This effort marked the first advance in aerial mine delivery techniques since 1943, and demonstrated a capability that substantially changes the potential of aerial mining in a threat environment,” writes U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Pietrucha in an article in Air & Space Power Journal.
It goes without saying that we should make a very public show of buying a crapload of these things, followed by equally public demonstrations of just how many platforms we can launch them from.
Maybe we could even buy a container ship or three for practice and demonstration purposes. Very public demonstrations.