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Air-Launched Weapons

Raytheon finalises SDB II developmental testing

20 April 2018
Raytheon has finalised developmental testing of the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II). Source: Raytheon

Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) has finalised the developmental testing (DT) campaign for the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) network-enabled precision-guided glide munition.

Developed under a US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN) joint interest programme (with the USAF as the lead service), the SDB II is a 250lb-class unpowered miniaturised precision attack weapon designed to provide tactical aircraft with an ability to strike mobile/relocatable and stationary targets at range (stated as up to 40 n miles [74 km]), in all weather conditions, and with limited collateral damage. RMS is the prime contractor for the SDB II programme.

Weighing 94.3 kg (208 lb), 177 cm (70 in) in length and 17.8 cm (7 in) in diameter, SDB II features a dual-waveform datalink - for in-flight target updates, in-flight re-targeting, weapon in-flight tracking, and weapon abort - flip-out wings to achieve stand-off range, GPS/INS navigation for mid-course guidance, an advanced tri-mode (millimeter wave (MMW), imaging infrared and semi-active laser) seeker for terminal engagement, and a low-collateral, multi-effects warhead. The SDB II design features three attack modes: normal - the primary mode to engage moving targets through weather using MMW radar and IR for terminal guidance; laser illuminated attack – using the laser spot tracker for terminal guidance; and co-ordinated attack mode: to attack fixed or stationary targets at a given set of co-ordinates.

During the DT campaign, some 44 SDB II munitions were dropped and tested from a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle – the weapon’s threshold platform - using all modes of operation and including strikes against manoeuvering targets in adverse weather conditions, demonstrating third-party control through the datalink, and discriminating a correct target from among decoys.

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