The Air Force on Monday chose Raytheon to supply the small diameter bomb increment II system and awarded the company a $451 million contact to start engineering and manufacturing development. The company bested a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team vying to build the new munition, which is an air-launched, precision-strike standoff weapon designed to take out moving and fixed targets in all weather conditions. “Raytheon proved we can provide the warfighter a low-risk, affordable solution that meets their needs,” said Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president, in the company’s release. Raytheon’s design is designated the GBU-53/B. It features a seeker with millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared, and semiactive laser modes. Bomb deliveries are expected to begin in 2013. Air Force F-15Es and Marine Corps and Navy F-35s will be the initial platforms to carry SDB IIs. (See also DOD’s contract list for Aug. 9)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.