General Atomics to boost UAV firepower with small-diameter bomb on MQ-9 Reaper

Unman-ned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts at General Atomics are integrating the Raytheon laser-guided small diameter bomb (SDB) on the company's MQ-9 Reaper mid-size attack UAV under terms of a $17.5 million contract.

Jan 1st, 2018
1801maeuv Reaper

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio - Unman-ned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts at General Atomics are integrating the Raytheon laser-guided small diameter bomb (SDB) on the company's MQ-9 Reaper mid-size attack UAV under terms of a $17.5 million contract.

The MQ-9 Reaper armed unmanned aircraft will get a boost in fire power when General Atomics integrates the Small Diameter Bomb aboard the aircraft.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Medium Altitude Unmanned Aerial System Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are asking the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems segment in Poway, Calif., to integrate the GBU-39B, also known as the laser SDB, on the MQ-9 Reaper.

The small-diameter bomb will add to the Reaper UAV's weapons arsenal, which already includes the GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb, the AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missile, the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile, and the GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

This contract calls for General Atomics to integrate the SDB onto the Reaper UAV via a universal armament interface on a dual-carriage system.

The small-diameter bomb weighs 285 pounds, is nearly six feet long, and 7.5 inches in diameter. The munition is small enough to be dropped from UAVs like the Reaper, as well as from other small military aircraft, and can hit moving targets with an advanced precision-guided munition seeker that blends millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared sensors, and semi-­active laser.

SDB increment II is a joint U.S. Air Force and Navy program to provide an air-launched, standoff precision-­strike weapon to defeat moving and fixed targets during the day, at night, and in bad weather. The SDB initially will be carried on the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bomber, as well as the F-35B and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.

Raytheon officials say the advanced munition's tri-mode seeker can switch between its millimeter-wave radar, imaging infrared, and semi-active laser guidance systems. Raytheon began deliveries of the latest version of the Small Diameter Bomb in 2013, after winning a $450.8 million contract for SDB engineering and manufacturing development in 2010.

The Small Diameter Bomb is designed to fit inside concealed manned and unmanned aircraft weapons bays. Its small size helps reduce the radar signatures of the aircraft that carry it, as well as keep collateral damage to a minimum when it attacks is targets.

On this contract, General Atomics will do the work in Poway, Calif., and should be finished by November 2021.

For more information visit General Atomics Aeronautical Systems online at www.ga-asi.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

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