Air Force runs second swarming air munitions test over New Mexico

The Air Force has put Golden Horde, its new swarming air-launched munitions program, to the test a second time.

The Department of Defense this week released several images of an F-16D Viper fighter jet circling the target after “successfully dropping four [collaborative small diameter bombs] for the second Golden Horde test mission” near New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base Feb. 19.

The pictures followed Brigadier General Heather Pringle, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, discussing the weapons test at a late-February press conference.

The test involved a jet from the 40th Flight Test Squadron based at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base.

CSDBs are small diameter bombs that have been modified with a collaborative network system that allows them to work together to identify targets, and the Golden Horde tests ” provide proof of concept for collaborative autonomous weapons,” according to the Air Force.

Aside from the images and their captions, the military has released little information about the tests.

In early January, the Air Force announced the completion of the first test in the Golden Horde program, where the CSDBs failed to impact the targets due to “improper weapon software load.”

At the time Pringle characterized the test as a “great learning opportunity.”

The AFRL has identified the Golden Horde program as one of its top three priorities.

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