Thursday, January 24, 2013

Small diameter bomb OKd for F-35

Raytheon reports that its GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II has proven suitable for use on U.S. F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters.

The bomb's suitability was determined during a test by the U.S. Air Force in which four SDB II shapes were loaded into an F-35 weapon bay alongside an Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile.

Checks of the aircraft's inboard and outboard bay doors verified adequate clearance between the two weapons, Raytheon said.

SDB II has an integrated tri-mode seeker that combines millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared and semi-active laser sensors onto a single gimbal for use in all weather conditions.

"Completion of the fit check is critical because it further validates SDB II's compatibility with the F-35 and keeps SDB II on track for a smooth transition to production," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Air Warfare Systems.

"Once fielded, SDB II will provide the warfighter with an unprecedented capability to precisely strike moving targets in adverse weather conditions and through battlefield obscurants."

Raytheon said that in addition to the F-35, can also be used by F/A-22s, F-16C/Ds and F/A-18E/F aircraft.

SDB II can hit targets from a range of greater than 40 nautical miles. It has a powerful warhead capable of destroying armored targets, yet keeps collateral damage to a minimum through a small explosive footprint. It is highly accurate and offers warfighters the flexibility to change targets, due to a datalink that passes mid-flight updates to the weapon.

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