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USAF and Raytheon sucessfully test new SDB variant

The US Air Force and Raytheon successfully tested a new version of the 113kg (250lb) small diameter bomb (SDB) against a moving target on 17 July.

The weapon, designated the GBU-53/B SDB II, was dropped from a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle flying over the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Raytheon says. The bomb scored a direct hit.

During the trial, SDB II used a tri-mode seeker which includes a millimetre-wave radar and uncooled imaging infrared and semi-active laser sensors. Used in combination, the sensors allow the weapon to target moving targets despite bad weather. It also has a pair of small wings to increase its stand-off capabilities.

"SDB II is the first in the next generation of smart weapons that uses multi-mode seekers and fully networked enabled data links to engage moving targets in bad weather or battlefield obscurants in high threat environments," says Harry Schulte, Raytheon's vice president of air warfare systems.

The SDB II was validated by the Department of Defense's joint requirements oversight council as a weapon that fills a critical capability gap for the military.

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