During the 1990s, it became clear to the German Air Force that the future of air support was going to lay in precision armaments in order to both ensure that the mission would be successfully completed and that collateral damage was kept to a minimum. To meet this requirement, the Air Force would adopt a few solutions, including the GBU-24 laser guided bomb and the Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile. These were not without their issues however, as the GBU-24 required that a target be continuously illuminated by a laser from firing aircraft, thereby increasing its needed loiter time and placing the aircraft at continued risk. The Taurus resolved many of these issues, being long range, accurate, GPS guided, and with a powerful payload, though its steep price tag meant that its deployment would never be cost effective.
From this, Diehl BGT would recognise an opportunity to develop a weapon that was not only cost effective, but long range, and precise with minimal input from the operator required after launch. This led Diehl to the development of the HOPE (Hochleistungs-Penetrator) and HOSBO (Hochleistungssprengbombe) series of guided glide bombs in 1997. The German Air force became very interested in the potential of this new weapon and would work closely with Diehl during its development. It was revealed to the public at ILA 2004 in Berlin, with tests being conducted from 2004 to 2008 over the Mediterranean and the Vidsel Test Range in Northern Sweden by WTD 61 as well as at Meppen by WTD 91.
The HOPE and HOSBO systems were developed in tandem and as a result have almost 100-percent parts commonality. The main difference lay in their warheads, with the HOPE featuring a penetrator similar to the Taurus that was capable of punching through bunkers and hardened aircraft shelters, while the HOSBO featuring the use of a more conventional explosive payloads and submunitions ranging from 125 kg to 950 kg. Like Taurus, HOPE uses a PIMPF (Programmable Intelligent Multi-Purpose Fuze) fuze which allows HOPE to be programmed for hitting hard targets. For guidance, both HOPE uses a combination of GPS, INS, and electro-optical which provides a high degree of ECM resistance as well as all-weather capability. Upon being launched from the aircraft, HOPE would roll 180 degrees and deploy its scissor wing (this is a single-piece wing that rotates).
Unfortunately, despite extensive testing and development, both the HOPE and HOSBO would remain as prototypes and be shelved by Diehl. It would be briefly resurrected as the PILUM, which was overall very similar to HOPE/HOSBO but featured the infrared seeker of Rafael’s Spice glide bomb.
In War Thunder, the German air tree is severely lacking when it comes to its ability to carry out standoff air attacks. The HOPE glide bomb would provide the German Tornado IDS (and the future Eurofighter Typhoon) with a true beyond visual range standoff capability similar to other top tier CAS aircraft of other nations.
Range: 100 km (or more, depending on launch altitude and speed)
Length: 5 m
Weight: 1,400 kg
Diameter: approx. 400 mm
Guidance: GPS/INS and electro-optical
Payload: estimated 3-5 (3 on fuselage, 2 on wing pylons)