References for the Target Softening chapter:
The bombs that were employed (dropped) during the ‘target softening’ operation of 11 Jun 05, were all precision-guided munitions (PGM) of very high accuracy.
I was going to explain a little more about them in the chapter, but on second thought have decided to do that elsewhere. Here is a start…
This is a useful graphic showing several types of U.S. laser-guided bombs (LGBs). The smaller 500-pound GBU-12 is the one most used in Iraq, because a smaller bomb normally poses less risk of collateral damage.
The main limitation of laser-guided munitions is that hazy weather, smoke or dust can diffuse the laser, severely affecting accuracy. However, laser-guided bombs have some flexibility against slower-moving targets, in that the laser spot can be shifted a short distance, even while the bomb is in flight. If targets may be moving, using a laser-guided bomb may be preferable.
The LGBs shown are all built from a Paveway II or III guidance kit and a 500-, 1000-, or 2000-pound bomb body. After weapon release, the tail fins deploy and the bomb is guided to the target by the laser seeker on the bomb’s nose, which homes in on a laser spot projected from the launching aircraft, or another source (such as second aircraft).
This shows the family of GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), and again the most commonly used is the smaller GBU-38.
Here is a textbox I was going to use in the chapter, but trimmed it out:
Smart and deadly
Two precision-guided munitions (PGMs) loaded up under the wing of an F-16. This type of PGM is the 500-pound GBU-38, also known as a Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM. The revolutionary precision of these weapons comes from the GPS unit in the bomb’s tail, allowing it to hit within five meters (16 ft) of a grid coordinate.