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Texas Instruments BOLT-117 Laser Guided Bomb

The BOLT-117 (BOmb, Laser Terminal) was the world's first laser-guided bomb (LGB). Used by U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantoms in the Southeast Asia War, it consisted of a KMU-342 laser guidance and control kit attached to a standard, M117 750-pound bomb. The guidance system and control fins were adapted from the AGM-45 Shrike missile.

A Weapon System Officer (WSO) in the backseat of an F-4, or in another accompanying F-4, used a hand-operated Airborne Laser Designator to "paint" the target. Meanwhile, the BOLT-117's seeker head "homed in" on the laser energy reflected from the target. While the WSOs had trouble keeping the target painted with hand-held designators in flight, the combat evaluation of the BOLT-117 in 1968 proved highly successful.

The USAF discontinued the BOLT-117 in favor of the more powerful 2,000-pound GBU-10 Paveway laser-guided bomb. Later, the BOLT-117 was redesignated the GBU-1.

Click here to return to the Southeast Asia War Gallery or here to return to the Precision Guided Weapons Overview.


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