Guided, gliding and ready to fly
Small Diameter Bomb II heads to production after rigorous testing
High above enemy territory, the doors on the underside of a fighter jet swing open, and out drops a winged weapon into the black, cloudy night. Steadily, it glides toward a rumbling enemy convoy, with a haze of dust and smoke hanging thick in the air.
The pilot can’t see the target. But the bomb can see it perfectly.
That weapon is Raytheon’s Small Diameter Bomb II, and after years of rigorous testing, the U.S. Air Force has cleared it for initial production and use. It can glide for miles and it carries a powerful warhead, but what truly sets the guided weapon apart is its seeker, which operates in three modes: millimeter-wave radar, to track targets through any type of weather; imaging infrared, to distinguish targets from other objects; and laser, to follow either an airborne designator or one on the ground.
“From concept to reality, SDB II’s capabilities are amazing,” said Jeff White, who heads business development for the SDB II program. “We are delivering a new capability to warfighters that they want – and need. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this program.”
SDB II was built small, so fighter jets could carry more of them. It was also built smart, with a datalink that allows the pilot to change targets even as the weapon glides toward the ground. And it is precise, with a small explosive footprint to keep collateral damage to a minimum.
Its reach is long and its punch powerful – it can hit targets from more than 40 nautical miles, or 74 kilometers, away, and its warhead can destroy armored targets.
The company believes SDB II would prove ideal for U.S.-allied nations around the world, including the United Kingdom, which is seeking to outfit its fleet of F-35 fighter jets. Whatever the future – bright, cloudy, dark or dusty, SDB II’s creators say the weapon is ready for the next challenge in the battlespace.
"We have come a long way and accomplished a lot," said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon Air Warfare Systems. "We are up for the challenge to deliver a brand new, affordable weapon for our warfighters.”