Poor weather and battlefield obscurants continue to endanger
warfighters as adversaries exploit these conditions to move safely from
coalition air power. SDB II fills the capability gaps following the SDB I
weapon system, which include the ability to hit moving and stationary targets
from near range to 40 miles on land and in the littorals in adverse weather.
SDB II features a tri-mode seeker, which incorporates a millimeter-wave
(MMW), imaging infrared (IIR) and semi-active laser seeker in one housing. Algorithms in the seeker allow classification of targets as wheeled,
tracked or boat. The bomb operates in three major modes: laser, coordinate and normal. In the normal mode, the MMW and IIR seekers work
together to track, classify and target the intended SDB II target. SDB II has
a dual-band, two-way datalink to enable an operator to update SDB II as
to target location.
The SBD II’s dynamic warhead can destroy both soft and armored targets
while keeping damage to a minimum through a small explosive footprint.
The small size and weight of the SDB II will enable a strike aircraft to carry
more precision weapons and strike more targets during a single mission.
The F- 35 can carry eight SDB IIs internally and 16 externally. The current
integration specification for the F/A-18E/F is eight weapons.
The SDB II was first successfully tested on July 17, 2012, when dropped
from an F-15E and scored a direct hit on a moving target. Successful tests
in September 2014 and February 2015 led to the Milestone C decision,
paving the way for the LRIP 1 contract, which provides for 144 SBD IIs,
156 single-weapon containers, eight weapon load crew trainers and conventional munition maintenance trainers and four practical explosive ordnance disposal system trainers.
SDB II Enters Low-Rate Production
The Small-Diameter Bomb II (SDB
II), designed by Raytheon Missile
Systems, is a 200-pound-class
precision-guided glide bomb designed to strike targets with a minimum of collateral damage. It is an
improvement over SDB I with the
addition of capability to hit moving targets in adverse weather.
The SDB II currently is an 11-year
program with a domestic purchase
of 17,000 weapons. Raytheon has
suppliers across the country, but
final assembly and testing will be
accomplished at Raytheon Missile
Systems in Tucson, Ariz.
Development of the SDB II began in
May 2006. Raytheon was awarded an
$818 million engineering and manufacturing development contract in
August 2010 that included options
for five production lots. Critical
Design Review was held in January
2011. SDB II achieved Milestone C
on May 11. The Acquisition Decision
Memorandum was signed June 3 and
Raytheon received the contract
award June 12 for low-rate initial
production (LRIP) 1. Operational
tests will begin in 2016. Initial operational capability is scheduled for
2017 on the Air Force F-15E. SDB II
will be introduced on the F/A-18E/F
in 2019/2020, followed by the F-35C
Jim Sweetman is Raytheon’s SDB II
program director and Jeff White is
the SDB II business development
Jeff White, left, Raytheon’s SDB II business development director, and Jim
Sweetman, SDB II program director, with a Small-Diameter Bomb II.