A more dynamic variant of toss bombing, called over-the-shoulder bombing, or the LABS (Low Altitude Bombing System) maneuver (known to pilots as the "idiot's loop"), is a particular kind of loft bombing where the bomb is released past the vertical so it is tossed back towards the target. This tactic was first made public in 1957 at Eglin AFB, when a B–47 entered its bombing run at low altitude, pulled up sharply (3.5 g) into a half loop, releasing its bomb under computer control at a predetermined point in its climb, then executed a half roll, completing a maneuver similar to an Immelmann turn or Half Cuban Eight. The bomb continued upward for some time in a high arc before falling on a target which was a considerable distance from its point of release. In the meantime, the maneuver had allowed the bomber to change direction and distance itself from the target.
To counter air defenses en route to the target, remaining at a low altitude for as long as possible allows the bomber to avoid radar and visual tracking and the launch envelope of older missile systems designed to be fired at targets overflying the missile site. However, a level pass at the target at low altitude will not only expose the aircraft to short-range defenses surrounding the target, but will place the aircraft in the bomb's blast radius. By executing a "pop-up" loft, on the other hand, the pilot releases the munition well outside the target area, out of range of air defenses. After release, the pilot can either dive back to low altitude or maintain the climb, in either case generally executing a sharp turn or "slice" away from the target. The blast produced by powerful munitions is thus avoided.
The value of toss-bombing was increased with the introduction of precision-guided munitions such as the laser-guided bomb. Previous "dumb bombs" required a very high degree of pilot and fire control computer precision to loft the bomb accurately to the target. Unguided loft bombing also generally called for the use of a larger bomb than would be necessary for a direct hit, in order to generate a larger blast that would destroy the target even if the bomb did not hit accurately due to windage or computer/pilot error. Laser-targeting (and other methods like GPS as used in the JDAM system) allows the bomb to correct minor deviations from the intended ballistic path after it has been released, making toss-bombing as accurate as level bombing while still providing most of the advantages of toss-bombing using unguided munitions. However, the targeting pods used to deliver guided munitions generally have a limit to their field of view; most specifically, the pod usually cannot look behind the aircraft at more than a certain angle. Lofting the bomb allows the pilot to keep the target in front of the aircraft and thus within the targeting pod's field of view for as long as possible.
"Dive-tossing" is generally used at moderate altitude (to allow for the dive) when the target, for whatever reason, cannot be designated precisely by radar. A target for instance may present too small a signature to be visible on radar (such as the entrance to an underground bunker) or may be indistinguishable in a group of radar returns. The pilot can in this case use a special "boresight" mode that allows the pilot to designate a target by pointing his aircraft directly at it. For a target on the ground, this means entering a dive. Thus designated, the pilot can then begin a climb, lofting the bomb at the target from a distance and regaining lost altitude at the same time.
The same computational solutions used in the LABS system are now incorporated into two of the major bombing modes (the computer-controlled CCRP and a dedicated visually-oriented "Dive-Toss" mode) of the Fire Control Computer of modern strike fighters such as the F-15E and F-16. As with LABS, the pilot designates their desired impact point, then consents to release while executing a climb, and the computer controls the actual release of the bomb. The integration into the FCC simplifies the pilot's workload by allowing the same bombing mode (CCRP) to be used for level, dive and loft bombing, providing similar cues in the pilot's displays regardless of the tactics used.
U.S., India to Conduct Joint Air Combat Exercise; Pakistan Voices Concern Over Training's Potential to Blunt Its Ability to Use Nuclear- Armed Fighters
Jan 28, 2003; The U.S. and Indian militaries are planning to conduct their first joint exercise with fighter aircraft, U.S. defense officials...