Raytheon announced Tuesday that it has conducted the first control test vehicle flight of its GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II design during a test at Eglin AFB, Fla. An Air Force F-15E released the GBU-53/B in flight. After safely separating from the aircraft, the weapon deployed its wings, performed a series of preprogrammed maneuvers, and flew to a pre-designated position, thereby meeting all of its primary test objectives, the company said. Raytheon is competing against a Lockheed Martin-Boeing team for the rights to supply SDB II to the Air Force and Navy under a USAF-led acquisition program. The new weapon is being designed to attack moving targets precisely in all types of weather conditions. It will build upon the ability of the Boeing-built SDB I to strike fixed and stationary objects. The Air Force expects to field SDB II around 2014, initially on the F-15E, which already carries SDB Is, and then on the F-35 and numerous other platforms. For example, it will be an important arrow in the B-2’s quiver.
President Joe Biden is nominating Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot to add a fourth star and succeed Gen. Glen D. VanHerck as the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)—one of several high-level nominations the Pentagon announced May 31.