By Arie Egozi
The acquisition of Israel military industries (IMI) by Elbit systems has added weapons systems to its portfolio, and now with its strong presence in the US, the US Air Force is an immediate customer.
Last year Orbital and IMI Systems, an Israeli defence company, have announced a teaming agreement in which Orbital ATK will produce and supply a US version of IMI’s 500-lb Multi-Purpose Rigid Bomb (MPR500) and the MPR family of bombs for the United States Air Force.
The two companies explained that the asymmetric warfare creates a growing demand for high-versatility, high reliability and low collateral damage precision weapons with a penetration capability.
According to IMI, the MPR500 is identical in form and fit to the MK-82 and function more as a 2000-lb bomb, and offers proven penetration capability and controlled fragmentation for a concentrated blast and area effect.
The MPR-500 has been developed by IMI based on the operational experience of the Israeli Air Force) IAF) and is in operational on different types of fighter aircraft.
According to IMI, the MPR-500 enables modern air forces to strike targets in dense urban environments and in close proximity to friendly forces, while reducing collateral damage and risk to non-combatants near the target.
The Israeli company claims that matched with JDAM GPS or laser guidance kits, the new weapon constitutes a breakthrough in air-strike capabilities.
The new bomb is designed to hit targets hidden inside buildings, by penetrating through multiple floor levels and detonate its fragmenting high-explosive warhead inside structures, thus enabling planners to target a specific floor, while leaving the rest of a building relatively safe.
IMI says that the weapon maintains its structural integrity throughout its path; eliminating breakup or jittering that has often been encountered with standard GP bombs – an unexpected behavior that increases the risk of duds or collateral damage. IMI claims that while operating against such hard targets, MPR-500 offers over 90 per cent reliability.