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Small Diameter Bomb likely to become one of the most successful weapons development programs ever

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August 26, 2005

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August 27, 2005 The US Air Force’s Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) is designed to help the airforce fly fewer sorties and hit more targets and looks likely to become one of the most successful weapons development programs ever. Essentially, the idea is to reduce the size of the bomb so planes can carry more of them and with final testing finishing this week and proving devastatingly accurate, the SDB will now begin operational service deployed on the F-15E Strike Eagle in early 2006. The all-weather SDB weapon system includes four bombs and is compatible with every U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft. It has a standoff range of 60 nautical miles. At 71 inches long, this 250-pound class weapon quadruples the number of weapons every aircraft can carry.

Four Boeing Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) were released on August 25 from two separate carriages on a U.S. Air Force F-15E, testing the full capabilities of the SDB guided-weapon system.

The test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was conducted at an altitude of 15,000 feet, approximately 20 nautical miles from four separate targets. After receiving target coordinates, the F-15E crew released the four bombs from two separate BRU-61 carriages.

"Being able to hit more targets with fewer sorties is what the SDB was designed to do," said Boeing Weapons Enterprise Capability Center vice president, Mark McGraw. "This test not only proved it is possible, it also showed it can be done with great accuracy; a common theme for the SDB program, which has become one of the most successful weapons development programs ever."

Three of the bombs targeted military trucks on the ground, while the fourth targeted a 40-ft. wall of shipping containers, and each SDB hit its intended target. In addition to accuracy, the test was designed to further demonstrate the optimal trajectory to the target and the terminal dive angle, heading and velocity of the weapons.

With the final planned free-flight test in the development test program behind it, the Small Diameter Bomb team is scheduled to begin Operational testing this fall.

The all-weather SDB weapon system includes four bombs and is compatible with every U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft. It has a standoff range of 60 nautical miles. At 71 inches long, this 250-pound class weapon quadruples the number of weapons on each aircraft can carry. The system will first be deployed on the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle in 2006.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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