USAF's Laser-SDB Contract Goes to Boeing
IndraStra Global

USAF's Laser-SDB Contract Goes to Boeing

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: GBU-39 SDB (Small Diameter Bomb). Airman 1st Class Matt Aggers (left) and Staff Sgt. Randy Broome performs a final check of the stowed twin wings on four ground-training Guided Bomb Unit-39 small-diameter bombs loaded on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. / Source: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung

Image Attribute: GBU-39 SDB (Small Diameter Bomb). Airman 1st Class Matt Aggers (left) and Staff Sgt. Randy Broome performs a final check of the stowed twin wings on four ground-training Guided Bomb Unit-39 small-diameter bombs loaded on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. / Source: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung | Image is for representation purposes only.

On November 7, 2019, Boeing has been awarded a US$ 22.48 million contract for Laser Small Diameter Bomb a.k.a Laser SDB (GBU-39B/B) all-up rounds and warhead shipping containers. This contract provides 522 all-up rounds and 131 warhead shipping containers for use by U.S. Special Operations Detachment 1. 

Work will be performed at St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed by February 8, 2021. 

According to the USAF press release, this contract is the result of a sole-source delivery order. Fiscal 2020 procurement funds for US$ 21,53 million and fiscal 2019 research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of US$ 948,567 are being obligated at the time of the award. 

NOTE: The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8656-19-F-1005).

About Laser Small Diameter Bomb (LSDB)

In mid-2012, the U.S. Senate recommended zeroing out funding for the SDB II due to fielding delays with the F-35 Lightning II. With the delay in SDB II fielding, Boeing recommended an upgrade to their SDB as a temporary gap-filler to get the desired performance at a fraction of the cost. Called the Laser Small Diameter Bomb (LSDB), it integrates the laser used on the JDAM to enable the bomb to strike moving targets. Boeing began testing the LSDB in 2011 and successfully hit targets traveling 30–50 mph (48–80 km/h).

In June 2013, the Air Force announced it would award Boeing a contract to develop and test the LSDB; the contract is for phase one part two engineering, integration and test, and production support and an LSDB Weapon Simulator. Boeing says the LSDB can be built at a lower cost than the planned Raytheon SDB II, as it will use the same semi-active laser sensor as the JDAM to hit moving and maritime targets. However, Boeing admits that it cannot engage targets in zero-visibility weather, as it lacks the SDB II's millimeter-wave radar.

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