Boeing’s booming bombing

Boeing has conducted the second successful test flight of its Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

According to Boeing, the flight demonstrated the weapon’s enhanced blast, ultra-low collateral damage and pinpoint accuracy.

The flight, along with an autopilot performance flight on 11 July, is part of the first phase of a $27m US Air Force Joint Capability Technology Demonstration contract.

‘The FLM version of SDB replaces the normal SDB steel warhead with a carbon fibre composite warhead and enhanced blast explosive to eliminate warhead fragments and increase blast power,’ said Dan Jaspering, director of Boeing Direct Attack Weapons. ‘The resulting small, but lethal, blast area will allow warfighters to hit targets in sensitive areas while minimising the risk to nearby personnel or structures.’

Boeing claims that the all-weather SDB I weapon, which measures 1.8m and weighs 113.4kg, has a standoff range of more than 74km and, with its SDB carriage, quadruples the number of weapons that can be carried by each aircraft.

Boeing will manufacture more than 24,000 SDB weapons and 2,000 carriages for the US Air Force, with deliveries scheduled for after 2015.