The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of an estimated $815m possible foreign military sale of GBU-53 / B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) to Australia.
The sale covers the delivery of 3,900 units of GBU-53 / B SDB II, up to 30 GBU-53 / B-guided test vehicles (GTV), and up to 60 GBU-53 / B captive carry reliability trainers (CCRT).
The Government of Australia has also requested weapon load crew trainers (WLCT), practical explosive ordinance disposal trainers (PEST), containers, support, and ground crew test equipment.
Australia also seeks to receive site survey, transportation, warranties, repair and return, maintenance, publications and technical documentation, as well as personnel training and equipment. The country has also requested US Government and contractor representative engineering, logistics, and technical support services.
The proposed sale is expected to help the US’ non-Nato ally in developing and maintaining its self-defence capability while supporting the ongoing sale of the F-35A to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The equipment being procured will strengthen combined operations, particularly air-to-ground strike missions in all weather conditions, and increase interoperability between the US and the RAAF.
It will improve Australia’s F-35 survivability and will improve its capability to deter global threats, strengthen its homeland defence, and cooperate in coalition defence initiatives, DSCA stated.
Raytheon Missile Systems will serve as the principal contractor for the sale.
The GBU-53 / B SDB II is an air-launched, precision strike-guided weapon that can detect, track, and destroy stationary or moving targets with high-precision and stand-off range during the day and at night in all weather conditions.
It can be integrated on various fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, including the USAF’s F-15E, F-35A, F / A-22, as well as the F-16C / D. It can also be installed on the US Navy’s F-35C and F / A-18E, in addition to the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.