Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)

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Product Type:

Guided Air-to-Surface Weapon

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF) and Navy

Program Status:

Low Rate Initial Production (GBU-53 SDB-II)

Prime Contractor:

(SDB-I & FLM) The Boeing Company
(SDB-II) Raytheon Company

The GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-I)

About the Small Diameter Bomb:

The Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) is a system of guided bombs designed to provide a conventional small sized, precision guided, standoff air-to-ground weapon that can be delivered from both fighters and bombers. The system employs a BRU-61/A smart pneumatic carriage capable of carrying four 250-pound class guided air-to-surface munitions capable of destroying high-priority fixed and stationary targets from fighters and bombers in internal bays or on external hardpoints.

The advantages of the SDB System - compared to systems that have a single 1,000-pound or 2,000-pound weapon - are increased aircraft loadout, smaller logistical footprint, decreased collateral damage, and improved aircraft sortie generation times. The Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) is a joint U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy program (led by the Air Force).

The Boeing GBU-39/B SDB-I is a fixed-target attack weapon, whereas the new Raytheon GBU-53/B SDB-II incorporates a tri-mode seeker and data link for use against moving targets. The SDB-II will be compatible with the BRU-61/A miniature munitions carriage and the CNU-660/E carriage system. The SDB-II can hit targets from a range of greater than 40 nautical miles. It has a powerful warhead capable of destroying armored targets while, at the same time, keeping collateral damage to a minimum. A third SDB, the Boeing GBU-40/B Focused Lethality Munition (FLM), is a fixed-target attack weapon similar to SDB-I, but a variant that increases the near field blast while decreasing collateral damage further.

In October 2013, Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed a series of test flights with the GBU-53/B SDB-II. The DoD plans to purchase a total of 17,000 SDB-II weapons, including 12,000 for the Air Force and 5,000 for the Navy. Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) commenced in FY 2014. Full Rate Production (FRP) is expected in April 2022.


The GBU-39 SDB-I is fielded on the B-1B Lancer, the B-2A Spirit, the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-22 Raptor, and is currently being integrated on the F-35 Lightning II.

The GBU-39 SDB-II will be fielded on the F-15E Strike Eagle (from 2018) and the F-35 Lightning II (F-35B an F-35C from 2022). Objective aircraft include the B-1B Lancer, B-2A Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, and MQ-9 Reaper. The AC-130 Gunship is being considered as an additional objective platform.

SDB Production Forecast:

A 15-year Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year SDB production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Ordnance & Munitions Forecast service.


The mission of the Small Diameter Bomb is to destroy targets from a medium-range standoff position deliverable by both fighters and bombers, with higher loadout and less collateral damage compared to other weapons.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - DoD SDB Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company,
and Raytheon Co.

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