Raytheon has completed developmental testing on the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), a key step toward bringing this new capability to fighter pilots.
Government confidence testing, a prerequisite for operational testing, is scheduled to be completed this year. Raytheon has also begun work on the SDB II second production lot after completing delivery of Lot 1 in 2017. Raytheon is producing SDB II bombs at the company’s fully-automated manufacturing facility in Tucson, Arizona.
The SDB II bomb is a gliding precision weapon with a one-of-a-kind tri-mode seeker that uses millimeter wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared guidance and semi-active laser guidance to find its targets. The weapon’s two-way datalink allows it to receive in-flight target updates. Once fielded, SDB II will enable pilots to engage more targets at ranges greater than 40 miles using fewer aircraft.
The weapon gives pilots the ability to destroy moving targets on the battlefield. Its seeker detects, classifies, tracks and destroys targets, even in adverse weather conditions from standoff ranges.
“We call SDB II a game changer because the weapon doesn’t just hit GPS coordinates; it finds and engages targets,” said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. “SDB II can eliminate a wider range of targets with fewer aircraft, reducing the pilot’s time in harm’s way.”
During developmental testing, pilots dropped 44 SDB II bombs and tested them in all modes of operation. The weapon destroyed maneuvering targets in adverse weather and demonstrated third-party control through a datalink. It also chose the correct target from among decoys and proved compatibility with the F-15E Strike Eagle.
Early SDB II integration work has begun on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II
GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) is an American air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb.
Development was started in 2006 for a 250 pounds (113 kg) class bomb that can identify and strike mobile targets from standoff distances in all weather conditions. The weapon can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets.
Its first flight was announced on May 1, 2009.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Navy have begun SDB II bomb integration activities on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Raytheon will complete integration on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2017.
A contract to start low-rate production was awarded to Raytheon in June 2015.