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Rockwell International GBU-8 Electro-Optical Guided Bomb

The GBU-8 Electro-Optical Guided Bomb was one of the "smart bombs" that revolutionized aerial warfare. A standard bomb fitted with a Homing Bomb System (Hobos), the GBU-8 was first used during the Southeast Asia War.

In 1967 the Department of Defense asked Rockwell International Corp. to develop the GBU-8 Hobos. It consisted of three parts: a television and a KMU-353 Image-Contrast Guidance Kit installed on a 2,000-pound MK 84 bomb, a sensor on the aircraft, and a control monitor in the cockpit.

While the pilot pointed the Hobos' sensor toward a target, the Weapon System Officer (WSO) watched a TV screen. If there was enough contrast between the target and the surrounding area, the WSO "locked" the bomb onto the target and released it. The electronic system on the bomb steered it to the target with control surfaces on the fins.

After a successful combat evaluation of the Hobos in 1969, F-4 crews eventually dropped more than 700 GBU-8s in Southeast Asia. More than 4,000 KMU-353 guidance and control kits were produced for U.S. and allied air forces. 

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


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