Raytheon and the US Air Force (USAF) have begun to flight test the small diameter bomb (SDB) II in coordinate attack and laser illuminated attack modes.

The SDB II features a highly advanced tri-mode seeker, enabling the weapon to use imaging infrared, millimetre wave and laser guidance to find targets on the battlefield, Raytheon said in a statement.

It can destroy both soft and armoured targets, while keeping collateral damage to a minimum through a small explosive footprint.

"No other weapon system in the world employs an advanced tri-mode seeker to eliminate moving and stationary targets in the battlespace."

Raytheon SDB II programme director Jim Sweetman said: "The most recent round of SDB II flight testing verifies the weapon system's maturity. The programme continues to progress toward the next phases of government confidence testing and operational testing.

"No other weapon system in the world employs an advanced tri-mode seeker to eliminate moving and stationary targets in the battlespace."

The coordinate attack mode of SDB II uses its on-board GPS system to attack high-value, fixed targets from close positions and from standoff ranges of more than 40mi.

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The laser mode will see SDB II using semi-active laser to track and eliminate laser-illuminated targets.

Raytheon and the Air Force are continuing to refine SDB II's normal attack capability by flight testing against fixed and moving targets in various tactical scenarios.

In the normal attack mode, SDB II uses imaging infrared and millimetre wave seeker modes, and classifies targets as wheeled, tracked or boat.

The developmental testing of SDB II will continue this summer with more normal attack, coordinated attack and laser illuminated attack flight testing.

The SDB II team will also conduct live fire tests of all up rounds.