August 27, 2003 (by Stefaan Vanhastel) - Lockheed Martin and Boeing will know within a week which of them will develop and build a new 250-pound bomb for the U.S. Air Force, a deal valued at $2.5 billion. The Air Force will name one of the two companies as the prime contractor for the new Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), which was formerly known as the Miniaturized Munitions Capability.
Both Lockheed and Boeing have tested their own versions of the new bomb, which will allow manned and unmanned fighter jets to attack more targets per sortie, under a two-year Air Force program.
The winning company will develop the final version of the new bomb, which is half the size of the smallest bomb the Air Force uses today but can penetrate six feet of reinforced concrete, like a much bigger 2,000-pound BLU
-109. The size and accuracy of small diameter bombs allows aircraft to carry more munitions to more targets and strike them more effectively with less collateral damage.
The Air Force currently plans to build 24,000 or more SDBs, including 12,000 fixed-target versions and 12,000 moving-target versions. The US Air Force
hopes to deploy the SDB by 2006 on the F-15E, followed by deployment on the F-22, F-35 or Joint Strike Fighter, the F-16, B-2 and a planned unmanned combat air vehicle.