German defense contractor Rheinmetall has marked first sales successes with its upgraded MK-82-EP general purpose aircraft bomb, landing orders in France and Germany.
France’s procurement authority, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), has already placed the first serial production orders for the bomb that will be carried by the Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter jets.
Furthermore, the German Air Force has selected the MK82-EP (Enhanced Performance) to serve as the warhead of the GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition system, destined for its Tornado and Eurofighter platforms. Together, the orders encompass more than 2,000 MK82-bomb bodies, worth over €35 million in total.
In October 2020 France’s DGA successfully qualified the new MK82-EP 500-pound bomb body. This follows a five-year program of development and extensive testing conducted by RWM Italia SpA, Rheinmetall’s airborne ordnance center of excellence in Italy, in cooperation with explosives manufacturer EURENCO.
Engineered for maximum safety during storage, handling and operations, the 500-pound MK82-EP warhead is an enhanced, fully interchangeable version of the standard MK82 bomb body, delivering improved effectiveness.
The MK82-EP can be deployed in free fall mode or as a precision guided munition in tandem with Paveway, Enhanced Paveway, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) or Armament Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) kits.
Rheinmetall further said that the MK82-EP could be seen as a likely choice to arm the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) currently being jointly developed by Germany, France and Spain, as well as serving as a new baseline for all Mirage 2000, Rafale and Eurofighter users.