Northrop contracted to deliver new all-electronic bomb fuze for US Navy

Illustration: US Navy photo of an F/A-18F Super Hornet fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to deliver the first serial FMU-139D/B, a new all-electronic bomb fuze suitable for many general purpose bombs.

With the US Navy’s decision this January to authorize full rate production, the improved FMU-139D/B bomb fuze will increase performance and reliability.

The FMU-139D/B replaces three legacy bomb fuzes – FMU-139C/B, FMU-152 and most FMU-143s – which were manufactured with technology that relied on mechanical mechanisms to safe and arm each fuze. In contrast, the FMU-139D/B relies on electronics to safe and arm the device.

“The FMU-139D/B’s all-electronic nature improves affordability. It is easier to manufacture, assemble and test than other legacy fuzes,” Pat Nolan, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman, said.

FMU-139D/B production orders have the potential to exceed $400 million over the next four years under the production contract. FMU-139D/B will be used by both the US Navy and the US Air Force, and the Navy Program Office will manage the requirements.

The FMU-139D/B will be produced at Northrop Grumman’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) facility in Rocket Center, West Virginia. The FMU-139D/B is designed to be a multi-purpose fuze equipped with general purpose characteristics and also serves as a highly survivable fuze for penetrator weapons.

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