The new GBU-44/E Viper-E weapon is a 42lb air-launched guided munition capable of stand-off precision attack. The GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bomb is a GPS-aided laser-guided variant of the Northrop Grumman Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) munition which originally had a combination acoustic and infrared homing seeker. The system was initially intended for use from UAVs, and it has also been integrated with the Lockheed AC-130 gunship, giving that aircraft a precision stand-off capability. On December 12, 2011, MBDA Inc. purchased Northrop Grumman’s Viper Strike munitions business located at Alabama, the Viper Strike is now produced by MBDA. Currently in production, Viper-E is a low-risk variant of the combat proven Viper Strike weapon that provides a turn-key precision weapon solution for fixed wing, helicopter and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms.
Currently in use on US Marine Corps aircraft, the Viper-E weapon glides to the target, using GPS-aided navigation and a semi-active laser seeker to attack land and sea targets with combat-proven pinpoint accuracy. The new Viper-E is optimized for attack profiles that require either a steep or shallow final attack angle. This flexibility allows low-collateral damage effects in both mountainous terrain and urban canyons where strict rules of engagement are in force. Its relatively small warhead size and laser accuracy provide for low collateral damage in cluttered urban environments. Viper-E’s new fast attack mode has proven successful against very high speed targets.