Boeing has revealed a new project to integrate a laser seeker in the GBU-39B small diameter bomb (SDB) for close air support applications.

A one-third scale model of the 113kg (250lb) weapon displayed at the company's exhibit at the Latin American Aerospace and Defence show in Rio de Janeiro showed a laser seeker in a low-speed nose cone. That design is unsuitable for fighter applications, but Boeing is adapting the SDB with a high-speed nose cone for close air support aircraft, says project manager Todd Grant.

 Laser SDB - Stephen Trimble

Stephen Trimble/Flightglobal

Potential applications include the Embraer A-29/EMB-314 Super Tucano, a light attack aircraft selected by the US Air Force on behalf of the Afghan air force. Boeing was selected by Embraer to integrate precision-guided weapons on the Super Tucano for the Afghan fleet.

The SDB is equipped with a global positioning system. In the Laser SDB application, the GPS will guide the weapon after release to a waypoint, and then activate the laser seeker. That sensor will hone in on a laser spot set by another source in the air or on the ground, and will guide the weapon.

The Laser SDB will be compatible with all platforms currently using the conventional weapon, Grant says.

Source: Flight International