Raytheon and the Air Force recently completed three successful tests of the Small Diameter Bomb II Guided Test Vehicle, passing the last trials required for the start of low-rate initial production of the GTV. In the test drops, the SDB II’s tri-mode seeker guided the bombs to direct hits against both stationary and moving targets, Raytheon said. The seeker was able to use sensor data to determine whether the targeted vehicles were wheeled or tracked, enhancing target identification and prioritization, according to a Sept. 4 company release. “The ability to classify targets and make targeting decisions based on that classification is a revolutionary capability possessed by no other weapon or seeker today,” said John O’Brien, Raytheon’s SDB II program director. The SDB II seeker uses millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared, and semi-active laser. The bomb can strike targets from up to 40 nautical miles and enables pilots to change targets after release by a secure datalink. Two live fire tests are scheduled that will use SDB IIs with live warheads and fuzes to strike tactically representative targets, Raytheon said. The Pentagon has validated SDB II as meeting a critical warfighter need and has invested more than $700 million in its development.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.