by Richard Sheffield
Since most weapons and their racks are excellent radar reflectors, all weapons will be carried internally in two weapons bays. A wide variety of weapons could be fitted into the retractable weapons platforms, but the most popular will probably be the AGM-65 Maverick missile.
Antiradar missions would call for the use of either the Shrike or HARM antiradiation missiles. A third possibility would be to carry the recently disclosed AGM-135A Tacit Rainbow antiradiation drone. This weapon is similar to the HARM, but it also has an internal engine. It would home in on radar signals and destroy the source or loiter over a given area waiting for the radars to be turned on.
Another option is the newly designed BLU-109 Paveway III Laser Guided Penetration Bomb. This 2000-pound bomb is designed to penetrate and destroy six feet of reinforced concrete. As noted aviation author Bill Sweetman recently told Popular Mechanics magazine, "By using unclassified DOD literature, one can trace exactly what type and how many of a given weapon system are being supplied to a known Air Force unit. Strangely, there are no records available on the distribution of the BLU-109/B. You figure it out."
Very little is known about the weapons targeting system. The only released photo shows a circular opening just below the base of the cockpit on the nose of the aircraft. It's believed this is the sensor module for weapons targeting. These systems would likely include forward-looking laser radar, forward-looking infrared, and a special low-light television system. Since this opening would have a similar field of view as the pilot, there may be a helmet-linked aiming system similar to the one used in the AH-64 Apache helicopter. With this system, all the pilot has to do to aim a weapon is look at the target.