Small Diameter Bomb certified for operational test, evaluation
by Capt. Louis Ruscetta
Miniature Munitions Support Group
No, that's not a football audible at the line of scrimmage, but the accomplishments of the Small Diameter Bomb Program: the number of months, 19, from the system design and development contract award to the first production contract award; the number of months, 23, from development award to the start of operational test; the number of successful weapon drops, 35, in the number of tests, 37; and the design life of system hardware in years, 20, for the small-diameter bomb weapon system.
The small-diameter bomb is a 250-pound class munition, providing the warfighter with a four-fold increase in weapons per aircraft station. It can penetrate more than 13 feet into a target and can be accurate from up to 70 miles away. The bombs are delivered in single, reusable aluminum weapon containers or loaded on a miniature munitions carriage. The carriages allow the weapons to be loaded straight from the container onto the F-15E Strike Eagle with no preparation or double handling. It also gives the pilot the ability to simultaneously drop multiple bombs at multiple targets, while significantly reducing collateral damage.
Maj. Gen. Robert W. Chedister, weapons program executive officer and Air Armament Center commander at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., certified the bomb ready to enter operational test and evaluation Sept. 20.
"This certification culminates a year of unprecedented developmental test success and is a testament to the talents and spirit of Team Eglin," said Thomas Robillard, Air-to-Ground Munitions Systems Wing director.
During bomb testing, General Chedister challenged Eglin Airmen to meet the Air Force Chief of Staff's mandated September 2006 date for the small diameter bomb.
"Every involved organization stepped up to the boss' challenge and delivered, allowing us to exceed schedule and performance expectations," Mr. Robillard said.
To help achieve this success, more people were added to the SDB program office. The 46th Test Wing provided flexible scheduling, other test programs delayed missions to give needed range time and many organizations picked up the bomb program office's share of the administrative duties -- all facilitating its record-setting schedule.
"The SDB Program Office is frequently the benefactor of Air Force Materiel Command accolades, but SDB success is a Team Eglin win," said Col. Dick Justice, Miniature Munitions Systems Group commander. "Without broad (AAC) support, and an outstanding product delivered by the Boeing Company, schedule and performance success would have been impossible."
The bomb enters operational testing in October and will continue the evaluation phase until spring 2006. Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom, is scheduled to receive the first shipment of the weapon following testing.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|