The US Air Force (USAF) has demonstrated the Raytheon-built small diameter bomb’s II (SDB II) ability to detect, track and destroy moving targets during two all-up round live fire test flights at the White Sands Missile Test Range in New Mexico, US.

Undertaken in collaboration with Raytheon, the tests represent the final flight events required before the Milestone C decision and the start of low rate initial production (LRIP).

The live warheads replaced telemetry payloads and completed the end-to-end tactical configuration that is scheduled to be delivered to the USAF and the US Navy.

"These tests showcased the weapon’s new multi-effects warhead that provides SDB II with the capability to destroy targets while reducing collateral damage."

Raytheon SDB II programme director John O’Brien said:"These tests showcased the weapon’s new multi-effects warhead that provides SDB II with the capability to destroy targets while reducing collateral damage.

"Working closely with our US Air Force customer, Raytheon is delivering this game-changing solution that fills a critical capability gap for US warfighters."

The bomb is expected to continue to execute guided test vehicle and live fire flight tests in the coming months, even as the programme enters LRIP.

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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 a range of more than 40NM from in adverse weather conditions, and with minimal collateral damage.

Equipped with a dynamic warhead that can destroy both soft and armoured targets, the bomb employees a tri-mode seeker, which operates in three modes, namely millimetre-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared, as well as a semi-active laser.

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

Having validated SDB II as a weapon that addresses a critical warfighter need, the US Department of Defense has to date invested more than $700m in the SDB II programme.