CONTENT PREVIEW
Air-Launched Weapons

Raytheon ready to hand off SDB II testing to USAF

11 April 2017

Raytheon and the US Air Force (USAF) have conducted the first-ever demonstration of a Small Diameter Bomb II's (SDB II's) ability to hit a moving target in adverse weather.

Raytheon's SDB II loaded onto an F-15E multirole strike fighter. SDB II is expected to enter operational testing later in 2017. (Raytheon)Raytheon's SDB II loaded onto an F-15E multirole strike fighter. SDB II is expected to enter operational testing later in 2017. (Raytheon)

A second test, conducted at Eglin Air Force Base's overwater range demonstrated the ability of a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) to take control of an SDB II after it was launched and guide it to a target.

Raytheon will deliver the first all-up SDB II round in April 2017. (Raytheon)Raytheon will deliver the first all-up SDB II round in April 2017. (Raytheon)

In the first test scenario, a USAF F-15E multirole strike fighter used its active electronically scanned array radar to lock onto a moving vehicle traversing through a simulated urban environment. The scenario was designed to make it difficult for the fighter to discriminate the target, Raytheon business development manager Jim Meger told Jane's.

Once the F-15E crew locked onto the target and launched their SDB II, they provided target updates to the weapon as it travelled through heavy cloud cover. The weapon's millimeter radar tracked the vehicle to the point of impact.

SDB II is fitted with two modes in its datalink - one mode is to join a Link 16 network and the other mode is an ultra-high-frequency (UHF) waveform on a dedicated closed network where a JTAC could control the weapon, as demonstrated in the second of the two tests at Eglin Air Force Base in December 2016, Mike Heyser, Raytheon business development manager told Jane's .

Raytheon was recently given permission to discuss the results of the tests.

As with the first test, this was the first time an SDB II was handed off to a third-party controller, Heyser noted.

"In this particular case it was also interesting because [the JTAC] is getting video feeds from a separate asset who has a [sensor] pod looking at a stationary target," he said. "It would have worked [just] as well if the target were moving."

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