via Defense News.
Instead of relying on weapons like the GBU-49 with a built-in ability to prosecute moving targets, many combat aircraft employ electro-optical targeting systems, or EOTS, with “lead-laser guidance” — which calculates how far a weapon should travel beyond the target’s current location in order to hit it. However, the F-35 EOTS was designed when that tech was still in its its infancy, so while the system can find a moving target, lock onto it and track it, an F-35 pilot still has to predict where a target will move and aim there, Pleus said.From the same article...
The GBU-49, however, has lead-laser capability built into its front end, so it doesn’t need to rely on the EOTS system for that data, Pleus said. “All it requires is a laser spot on the moving target and the bomb itself will produce the lead necessary to hit the moving target.”
The GBU-49 wasn’t originally included in the Block 3F weapons loadout, which, along with new software, will make the joint strike fighter fully mission-capable. The service decided to incorporate it within the last six to nine months, said Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of the Air Force’s F-35 integration office.So what does this mean? It means that our assertion that the F-35's EOTS is obsolete is confirmed. It means that every plane produced before Block 4 will require massive upgrades. It also explains why Singapore and others are delaying their buys of the airplane. It just isn't as good as the fanboys want you to believe.
“The ability to hit a moving target is a key capability that we need in current close-air support fight, and the GBU-49 is a great solution for the F-35 and, frankly, for all of our legacy platforms to hit these moving targets,” he said during a February interview.