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n. A World War II gliding bomb whose azimuth could be adjusted via radio.


AZON (or Azon), from " azimuthonly", was one of the world's first guided weapons, deployed by the Allies and contemporary with the German Fritz X.

Officially designated VB-1 ("Vertical Bomb 1"), it was invented by Major Henry J. Rand and Thomas J. O'Donnell during the latter stages of World War II as the answer to the difficult problem of destroying the narrow wooden bridges that supported much of the Burma Railway.

AZON was essentially a general-purpose AN-M65 bomb with a quadrilateral 4-fin style radio controlled tail fin design as part of a "tail package" to give the half-short ton ordnance the desired guidance capability, allowing adjustment of the vertical trajectory in the yaw axis, giving the Azon unit a lateral steering capability (meaning it could only steer left and right, and could not alter its pitch or rate of fall). This lack of any pitch control meant that the bombardier still had to accurately release it with a bombsight to ensure it could not fall short of or beyond the target. The "tail package" bolted onto the standard bomb warhead, in place of the usual sheet-metal fixed fins; this concept was an early iteration of a now common method of making modern guided bombs (such as the JDAM, the Paveway family, the KAB-500L, etc): making the guidance and control units as separate pieces that attach to the tail and/or nose of a standard " iron bomb", making it into a guided weapon. There were gyroscopes mounted in the bomb's added tail package that made it an Azon unit, to autonomously stabilize it in the roll axis via operating a pair of ailerons, and a radio control system to operate the proportional-control rudders, to directly control the bomb's direction of lateral aim, with the antennas for the tail-mounted receiver unit built into the diagonal support struts of the tail surface assembly. The bomb's receiver and control system were powered by a battery which had around three minutes of battery life. The entire setup in the added "tail package" was sufficient to guide the weapon from a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) drop height to the target. Situated on the tail of the bomb was a 600,000- candela flare which also left behind a noticeable smoke trail, to enable the bombardier to observe and control it from the control aircraft. When used in combat, it was dropped from a modified Consolidated B-24 Liberator, with earlier development test drops of the Azon in the United States sometimes using the B-17 Flying Fortress as the platform. Some ten crews, of the 458th Bombardment Group, based at RAF Horsham St Faith, were trained to drop the device for use in the European theater.

The 493rd Bomb Squadron also dropped Azon bombs in Burma in early 1945 from similarly-modified B-24s, based at Pandaveswar Airfield, India, with considerable success, fulfilling the designers' original purpose for the ordnance.

Usage examples of "azon".

Their round shields, stacked against javelins in opposite corners of the short passage, were marked with the blazons of a battalion of the Palatine Foot.

In a more moderate tone he added, "But Azon and Erzites have their place in the valley.

Perennius swallowed a bite and said, "Including your Ophitics, Azon and Erzites?

It's just that before I went under, I heard Ramphion say something about hauling us out to Azon, shits to a shit.

Course it's damned hard lines for Azon and me when they get big eyes the way they did with you lot.

The hut darkened as Azon's big form, a near twin of his brother's, filled the doorway.

The centurion jostled Perennius but did not prevent the agent from getting his own iron grip on Azon's throat.

Chances were that the weapon had belonged to Azon and Erzites' father when he served with the imperial forces.

He had been about to say that if Azon had been correct, the five of them might be only minutes short of being trapped by villagers returning for a new victim.

  Now it was obvious why the Dra'Azon had made Schar's World one of their Planets of the Dead.

  Inside a Dra'Azon Quiet Barrier, on a Planet of the Dead, must rank as one of the safest places to be during the current hostilities.

  Neither we nor the Culture can risk causing the Dra'Azon any offence.

  An annihilatory destruct would rip the planet in half and so antagonise the Dra'Azon.

  I don't think the Dra'Azon even know or care much about the war or what I've been doing since I left Schar's World.

  At least it was unlikely they would find themselves in a fire-fight, and nobody, including the Mind they might end up helping Horza search for, was going to start blowing things up, not with a Dra'Azon to reckon with.