Boeing officials said Wednesday morning that the Air Force just yesterday declared the Small Diameter Bomb operationally ready, giving the green light for full rate production. Boeing’s vice president for weapons, Virginia Barnes, told reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington that Boeing also had received confirmation from USAF on full funding for SDB for 2007. She said the company is a month ahead on the delivery schedule established by USAF in 2001. On Tuesday, Boeing confirmed that airmen deployed in Southwest Asia from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Britain, are flying F-15Es armed with SDBs.
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.