The Laser Small Diameter Bomb (Laser SDB) system is the next generation of affordable and low-collateral-damage precision strike weapons, which builds on the success of the same Semi-active Laser (SAL) sensor currently used by Boeing’s Laser JDAM. A Laser SDB increases mission effectiveness in several ways:
By using already-proven laser sensor technology, Laser SDB offers the flexibility to prosecute targets of opportunity, including moving targets. With the BRU-61 Carriage System, these optimized munitions offer increased load-out for each weapons station to prosecute multiple targets per sortie. As a 250-lb. class weapon, Laser SDB’s smaller size and High Performance Wing Assembly allow it to glide for extended ranges.
Besides providing a safer standoff distance for pilots at greater than 60 nautical miles, Laser SDB target coordinates can be updated after weapon release by illuminating the target with standard Laser designation procedures. Laser SDB also retains a smaller warhead that provides reduced collateral damage, and offers ultra-low fragmentation with the composite focused lethality munition (FLM) variant.
SDB I, with its carriage of four weapons each, fits on fighter/bomber external smart stations and in the internal bays of the F-22A, F-35, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles and B-1 and B-2 bombers. Because Laser SDB is the same size as SDB I, it will fit in all current SDB I configurations.
In August 2003, following a two-year competitive phase, the Air Force selected Boeing to develop and build the SDB system. The Boeing and Air Force SDB I Team delivered the SDB system to the warfighter at cost and ahead of schedule. The Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability in October 2006, and SDB has been in combat use on the F-15E since October 2006. Using the same Semi-active Laser (SAL) sensor from Boeing’s Laser JDAM, Laser SDB was developed in 2010 and began initial testing in 2011.