Boeing has been awarded an almost $194 million contract to produce 6,000 Small Diameter Bombs for the U.S. Air Force and for sale to six foreign governments, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a press release.
“The Boeing Co. Defense, Space and Security, St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $193,638,503 contract modification” to a $700 million contract awarded in September 2016 for “Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment 1 Lots 12-14 production,” the Tuesday, January 2 release said. “This modification provides for the purchase of an additional quantity of 6,000 SDB 1 all-up-rounds being produced under the basic contract.”
The 2016 contract did not specify a number of bombs that were to be produced.
The new sole-source acquisition contract modification includes $99,715,078-worth of foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Singapore and is expected to be completed by December 30, 2020.
Small Diameter Bomb gives precision stand-off strike capability
The GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb is a 250-pound precision-guided glide bomb with a stand-off range of more than 40 nautical miles (74 km). It uses a GPS-aided inertial navigation system to attack fixed or stationary targets.
The Small Diameter Bomb system is designed to enable aircraft to carry a higher number of smaller, more accurate bombs. Many U.S. Air Force aircraft – including the F-15E, F-16, F-117, B-1, B-2, F-22 and F-35 – can carry a pack of four GBU-39 SDBs in place of a single 2,000-pound bomb.
On December 8, Boeing was awarded a $10.5 million contract to produce Laser Small Diameter Bombs for the U.S. Air Force.
The GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bomb variant integrates the JDAM’s semi-active laser, enabling the bomb to hit targets moving at up to 80 km/h (50 mph) and has been fielded by the U.S. Special Operations Command since 2014.
On November 27, the Department of Defense said General Atomics was awarded a $17.5 million contract to integrate the Laser Small Diameter Bomb onto the MQ-9 Reaper drone, but the following day it published a correction, saying the contract “has not yet been awarded.”
The integration of the 250-pound precision-guided glide bomb, recently launched from F-22s to strike Taliban drug factories in Afghanistan, would give the Reaper a 75-km stand-off weapons capability and reduce the U.S. Air Force need for more expensive and dangerous manned missions.