Boeing officials in St. Charles, Mo., yesterday heralded the delivery of the first production Small Diameter Bomb I system to the Air Force. The SDB system includes a four-bomb capacity carriage, which officials say is compatible with all USAF fighters and bombers. The Air Force plans to purchase more than 24,000 SDB Is and 2,000 carriages; production is to continue through 2015. The first operational unit to get the new 250-pound class bomb, which has a standoff range of 60 nautical miles, will be RAF Lakenheath, Britain, for deployment on F-15E Strike Eagles.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.