Raytheon’s GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II program achieved a major milestone when it successfully engaged and hit a moving target during a flight test at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Currently in engineering and manufacturing development, SDB II is designed to engage moving targets in adverse weather and through battlefield obscurants.
During the July 17 test, the crew of a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter staging out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., released the GBU-53/B, which then acquired, tracked and guided to a moving target using its tri-mode seeker, scoring a direct hit.
“SDB II is the first in the next generation of smart weapons that uses multi-mode seekers and fully networked enabled data links to engage moving targets in bad weather or battlefield obscurants in high threat environments,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. “Raytheon is committed to this program’s success because SDB II will give the warfighter a mission-flexible weapon capable of defeating threats such as swarming boats, mobile air defense systems or armored targets.”
SDB II was validated by the Department of Defense’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council as a weapon that fills a critical capability gap for the military. In addition to its adverse weather, moving-target capability, SDB II can hit targets from stand-off ranges. It has a powerful warhead capable of destroying armored targets, yet keeps collateral damage to a minimum through a small explosive footprint.
SDB II’s capabilities include the ability for the weapon to be employed in three primary attack modes, each with a subset mode, for a total of six engagement modes. A dual band, two-way weapon data link for in-flight target updates and status reporting allows post-launch control of the weapon by the launching aircraft, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller, or a third party.
“SDB II is designed and built from the ground up to deliver to the warfighter an affordable and efficiently produced weapon that brings new levels of capability yet remains easy to employ and maintain,” said John O’Brien, Raytheon’s SDB II program director.
SDB II’s integrated tri-mode seeker, which is built in Raytheon’s automated tri-mode seeker factory, fuses millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared and semiactive laser sensors on a single gimbal, which enables the weapon to seek and destroy targets, despite adverse weather conditions. Rockwell Collins supplies Raytheon with the data link, while General Dynamics-Ordnance and Tactical Systems provides the multi-effects warhead.