The Bomb Rack Unit 61 with carrier and four ground-training Guided Bomb Unit-39 small-diameter bombs on this munitions trailer undergoes testing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. The 494th Fighter Wing will be the first unit to receive and use the bomb when it deploys to Southwest Asia later this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)
Airman 1st Class Robert Branham prepares a Bomb Rack Unit-61 for loading onto an F-15E Strike Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. The bomb rack and carrier comes loaded with Guided Bomb Unit-39 small-diameter bombs. The Airman is an aircraft weapons specialist with the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)
Staff Sgt. Randy Broome signals a jammer operator to move a Bomb Rack Unit 61 forward, while loading it onto an F-15E Strike Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. The NCO is an aircraft weapons specialist with the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)
The GBU-39B Small Diameter Bomb, or SDB, is an extended range all-weather, day or night 250-pound class, guided munition. The SDB relies on the Global Positioning System to provide navigation to the target. Additionally, its small size allows increased aircraft loadout to achieve multiple kills per sortie and inherently reduces the probability of collateral damage.
The SDB system employs a smart carriage capable of carrying four 250-lb class guided air-to-surface munitions. It is capable of destroying high-priority fixed and stationary targets from Air Force fighters and bombers in internal bays or on external hard-points. SDB increases aircraft loadout, decreases the logistical footprint, decreases collateral damage, and improves aircraft sortie generation times.
The SDB provides a transformational capability to the warfighter increasing smart weapon carriage by placing up to four smart weapons per 1760 store location.
The weapon system is capable of standoff ranges in excess of 40 nautical miles. The system can be targeted and released against single or multiple targets. SDB target coordinates are loaded into the weapon before release either on the ground or in the air by the aircrew. Once the weapon is released, it relies on GPS/INS to self-navigate to the desired impact point.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is currently the only aircraft outfitted with the SDB weapon system. Future platforms include the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-117, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
Air Combat Command defined a mission need for a miniaturized munitions capability in 1997. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council validated this need and development began on the Small Diameter Bomb in 2001. After a 24-month component advanced development phase ended September 2003, Boeing was selected as the prime contractor to develop and produce the Small Diameter Bomb Weapon System. The contract for system development and demonstration was awarded October 2003. The system went into limited initial production in April 2005. In August 2006, the SDB was delivered to warfighters.
General Characteristics Primary Function: Guided air-to-surface weapon Contractor: Boeing Co. Range: More than 40 nautical miles (46 miles) Guidance System: Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System Unit cost: Approximately $40,000 Initial operational capability: October 2006 Projected Inventory: Total force, 24,000 munitions and 2,000 carriages