Raytheon has successfully completed three guided test vehicle (GTV) flights of the US Air Force’s (USAF) new Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) at an undisclosed location.

Jointly carried out with the USAF, the GTV flights resulted in direct hits against stationary and moving targets.

During the test, the bomb’s tri-mode seeker used sensor data to determine whether the vehicle was wheeled or tracked, thereby helping in target identification and prioritisation.

The flight tests represent the final GTVs required before the programme’s transition to Milestone C and the start of low-rate initial production.

Raytheon SDB II programme director John O’Brien said: "These guided tests were successfully accomplished against separate targets in both moving and static scenarios that included both wheeled and tracked vehicles.

"The ability to classify targets and make targeting decisions based on that classification is a revolutionary capability possessed by no other weapon or seeker today.

"The ability to classify targets and make targeting decisions based on that classification is a revolutionary capability."

"The government and industry team looks forward to the upcoming Milestone C decision, so we can transition SDB II into production and deliver it to the warfighters who need it."

Raytheon is set to undertake two live fire tests in the coming weeks, which will utilise live warheads and fuses on the SDB II against tactically representative targets.

The live-fire shots are expected to further demonstrate the end-to-end capability of the bomb and its readiness to enter production.

Manufactured at Raytheon’s automated tri-mode seeker factory in US, SDB II is an air-launched precision-strike weapon designed to destroy armoured targets from stand-off ranges in adverse weather conditions.

SDB II’s seeker operates in three modes, including millimetre-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared and a semiactive laser.

Developed under a five-year engineering and manufacturing development phase contract awarded by USAF in August 2010, the bomb can peer through storm clouds or battlefield dust and debris for engagement with fixed or moving targets.

Defence Technology