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

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Unmanned 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 announced last week. Officials of the U.S. Air Force Medium Altitude Unmanned Aerial System Division at Wright-Patterson Air For e 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.

Dec 5th, 2017
Small-diameter bomb going on MQ-9 Reaper UAV
Small-diameter bomb going on MQ-9 Reaper UAV
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Unmanned 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 announced last week.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Medium Altitude Unmanned Aerial System Division at Wright-Patterson Air For e 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 is able to hit moving targets with an advanced precision guided munition seeker that blends millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared sensors, and semi-active laser.

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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 in 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 form factored 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 contact 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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