GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb

The GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb (SDB) is a 250 pound (113 kg) guided bomb that is intended to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of bombs. Most US Air Force aircraft will be able to carry a pack of four of these bombs in place of a single 2,000 lb bomb using the BRU-61/A rack. [ [ Boeing / Lockheed Martin SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) - Designation Systems] ]


Two variants are being developed. One version of the SDB is equipped with a GPS-aided inertial navigation system to attack fixed/stationary targets such as fuel depots, bunkers etc. The second variant (GBU-40) includes a thermal seeker with automatic target recognition features for striking mobile targets such as tanks, vehicles, and mobile command posts.

The GBU-39 has a circular error probable (CEP) of only 5-8 meters, [ [ SDB - Global Security] ] which means it has a 50% probability of hitting within 5-8 meters its intended target, which should minimize collateral damage. CEP is reduced by updating differential GPS offsets prior to weapon release. These offsets are calculated using an SDB Accuracy Support Infrastructure, consisting of three or more GPS receivers at fixed locations transmitting calculated location to a correlation station at the theatre Air Operations Center. The corrections are then transmitted by Link 16 to SDB-equipped aircraft.

The small size of the bomb allows a single strike aircraft to carry more of the munitions than is possible utilizing currently available bomb units. It is currently integrated on the F-15E Strike Eagle; future integration is planned for the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, A-10 Thunderbolt II, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and the B-52 Stratofortress. Other aircraft, including UCAVs, may also receive the necessary upgrades.

The SDB carries approximately 50 lb (23 kg) of high explosive, yet because of its design it has the same penetration capabilities as the 2000 lb BLU-109. During demonstrations, the SDB has successfully penetrated more than 6 ft (1.8 m) thick reinforced concrete. It also has integrated "DiamondBack" type wings which deploy after release, increasing the glide time and therefore the maximum range.

GBU-39 began separation tests on the F-22 in early September 2007 after more than a year of sometimes difficult work to integrate the weapon in the weapons bay and carry out airborne captive carry tests. Flight tests so far have produced a few in-flight problems, including one incident in which an F-22 suffered a brief, dual-engine flameout while performing a negative-g, 360 degree roll with eight SDBs loaded in the weapons bay. The flameout occurred because the aircraft entered the maneuver with an incorrect trim setting. However, the engines were restarted almost immediately. The pilot remained in control of the aircraft andlanded at Edwards AFB, California, without incident. [ [ F-16 news report] ]


* Length: 70.8 in (1.8 m). [ [ Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) - Boeing IDS] ]
* Width: 7.5 in (19 cm).
* Weapon weight: 285 pounds (130 kg).
* Warhead: 206 lb (93 kg) penetrating, blast fragmentation.
** 50 lbs (23kg) of high explosive. [ [ SDB Specs - Global Security] ]
* Warhead penetration:
** "six feet of reinforced concrete"who.
** "more than three feet (1 m) of steel-reinforced concrete"who.
* Fuze: Electronic safe and fire (ESAF) cockpit selectable functions, including air burst and delayed options.
* Guidance: SDB I - GPS/INS.
* Accuracy: 5-8 m circular error probable.
* Standoff maximum range: more than 60 nautical miles (110 km).


Although unit costs were somewhat uncertain as of 2006, the estimated value for the INS/GPS version was around $70,000. The cost of the second variant was more uncertain, but tentative estimates were $90,000 per unit or more.

DB Focused Lethality Munition (FLM)

Under a contract awarded in September 2006, Boeing is developing a version of the SDB I which replaces the steel casing with a lightweight composite casing and the warhead with a focused blast explosive such as Dense Inert Metal Explosive. This will significantly reduce the possibility of collateral damage when using the weapon for pin-point strikes in urban areas. [cite web|url=|title=Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) - Defense Update]

Program status

* October 2001 - Boeing is awarded the SDB contract. [ [ Boeing Awarded Small Diameter Bomb Contract - Boeing press release] ]
* September 2005 - Small Diameter Bomb certified for operational test, evaluation. [ [ Small Diameter Bomb certified for operational test, evaluation] , Air Force Print News]
* September 2006 - SDB team deliver the first SDBs to the USAF. [ [ Small Diameter Bomb I delivered ahead of schedule] , Air Force Print News]
* October 2006 - Initial Operational Capability declared for SDB on the F15E. [ [ ACC declares IOC for Small Diameter Bomb - Air Combat Command] ]
* October 2006 - First use in combat. [ [ GBU-39/B Makes Combat Debut in Iraq - USAF press release] ]


External links

* [ GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb / Small Smart Bomb - Global Security]
* [ Small Diameter Bomb SDB Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) - Global Security]
* [ GBU-39/40/42/B Small Diameter Bomb I/II]

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