"A 500lb laser-guided bomb." -- In-Game Description
The GBU-12 is a laser-guided bomb available for the F/A-26B and the F-45A. It requires constant laser lock for accurate deployment, similarly to the AGM-114, and uses the HUD symbology of GPS-guided bombs (see the GBU-38's article for more information) for deployment. Its deployment method is paralleled in the GBU-53 Advanced SD Bomb, a Small-Diameter, optically-guided bomb available to the F-45A.
- Like with all guided bombs, the GBU-12's guidance package can be disabled through this page, allowing it to function akin to an unguided bomb, like the Mk. 82.
The GBU-12 is chiefly designed as an asset in Close Air Support tactics. In comparison to your average Air-to-Ground Missile, the GBU-12 can be deployed more easily on short notice and carry a much larger payload, allowing it to easily dispatch hostile units in close formation. It can cripple ground vehicles in a wide radius and infantry units in a radius even wider. Unlike other bombs, though, the GBU-12 has less direct attack power, so it is not a viable weapon for engaging heavily fortified units, such as Bunkers.
The guidance package relies on a constant TGP laser lock for accurate deployment against ground targets, similarly to the AGM-114. If the TGP's laser deviates from its target, the GBU-12 could maneuver far off-course and not damage its intended target at all. As such, when deploying from the F/A-26B, it is recommended to establish a left-hand orbit around the target after dropping the bomb for optimal target lock. The F-45A is not quite as encumbered by such a restriction, as its ventral-mounted EOTS (TGP equivalent) gives it much more room to maneuver while maintaining laser lock. In either case, scenarios where air defenses are present can pose significant problems for deploying aircraft. Having to maneuver out of harm's way is very likely to result in breaking laser lock on a ground target, resulting in deployed bombs being summarily wasted after deployment. Ideally, GBU-12s should be deployed within environments with minimal air defenses, generally after SEAD and CAP groups have had a chance to clear the area of major threats to deploying aircraft.