Boeing has been awarded a $14 million contract for GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb glide bombs by the U.S. Air Force, a U.S. Department of Defense release said.
The sole-source not-to-exceed $14,073,337 contract for Small Diameter Bomb I “focused lethality munition production assets” provides for GBU-39 A/B weapons as well as shipping/storage containers, the Monday, September 10 release said.
Work is expected to be completed by September 2020.
The number of bombs to be produced under the contract (FA8672-18-C-0014) was not specified.
In January, Boeing was 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. That contract was 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 system is designed to enable aircraft to carry a higher number of smaller, more accurate bombs. Many U.S. Air Force aircraft can carry a pack of four GBU-39 SDBs in place of a single 2,000-pound bomb. The GBU-39 was launched from F-22s to strike Taliban drug factories in Afghanistan in November.
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 weapon 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.
A further variant – the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II – can only be carried by the F-15E and F-22, although the F-35 will be able to carry the weapon after a 2022 software upgrade. It adds a tri-mode seeker that enables radar and infrared homing, as well as semi-active laser guidance, and reportedly features target recognition.