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GBU-40 Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II)

Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) has been a joint interest program to provide the warfighter a capability to attack mobile targets from stand-off in weather. SDB II has been intended to address the following warfighter requirements: attack mobile targets, adverse weather operations, multiple kills per pass, multiple ordnance carriage, near-precision munitions capability, capability against fixed targets, reduced munitions footprint, increased weapons effectiveness, minimized potential for collateral damage, and provides a migration path to net-centric operations capability. Threshold aircraft were the F-15E for the US Air Force and the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the US Navy (RAA TBD). Objective aircraft included: F-22A, B-1, B-2, F-117, F-16, B-52, and the Predator B.

SDB II began Technology Development/Risk Reduction in FY06 and Milestone B was scheduled in FY10. Milestone C was planned for FY13 followed by RAA on the F-15E in FY14. SDB would continue incremental development to pursue network Centric interoperability. SDB was a key component of the Air Force's Global Strike Task Force CONOP. All major contracts within this Program Element would be awarded through full and open competition. Up to two contractors would be selected for the 42 month Risk Reduction phase using Cost Plus Fixed Fee contracts. Downselect to one contractor would occur prior to System Development and Demonstration (SDD). SDD would be a Cost Plus Fixed Fee with performance incentives. The approach allowed for higher risk, less mature technologies to be fielded in an evolutionary fashion. Limited US Navy funding and resources supported the Risk Reduction phase.

The Government was buying the SDB II based on contractor-developed, Government-approved System Performance Specification (SPS) that would become contractually binding at downselect. The contractor would be accountable for system performance as defined in the SPS may include a system warranty. Accordingly, the contractor was responsible not only for the design of the weapon system, but also for planning and executing the Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E) program to verify the system performance. The Government formally arranged and funded the use of Government flight test support for DT&E. Although funded by the Government, flight test support funds were part of the negotiated commitment between the contractor and the Government ensuring the contractor was able to execute the DT&E Program according to the scope of the RR/SDD contract.

The SDB program initially contemplated an evaluation of offerors' capabilities against both fixed and moving targets. Early in the procurement process, during the first few months of 2002, Lockheed Martin was perceived as having a "strength" with regard to the moving target requirements and Boeing was considered "weak" in this area. In May 2002, most of the requirements associated with moving targets and the associated evaluation factors were deleted, and thereafter, Boeing was selected for award without consideration of its capabilities regarding the deleted moving target requirements.

Darlene Druyun, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Management, was convicted of violating a conflict of interest statute, admitted to bias in favor of The Boeing Company on various procurements. Lockheed Martin Corporation was the only competitor for this effort, and following the October 2004 disclosure of Druyun's bias, filed a protest alleging that Druyun improperly manipulated certain program requirements and the related evaluation factors in a manner that favored Boeing. Druyun was significantly involved in the decision making process that culminated in the May 2002 changes to the technical requirements and deletion of the related evaluation criteria. Druyun was the de facto lead acquisition official during the period in which the changes were made. Accordingly, GAO sustained Lockheed's protest.

Increment II began the competitive bidding process in response to GAO recommendation. Solicitations began December 2005 and negotiations were completed in March 2006. On 17 April 2006, McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Raytheon Company, Tucson, Arizona, were awarded a $289,672,936 ($145,782,374 to McDonnell Douglas & $143,890,562 to Raytheon) cost plus fixed fee contracts. This action provided for Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment II, 42-month Risk Reduction Phase. The objective of the SDB II program was to develop, test, and field a 250-lb class miniature munition capable of destroying mobile/relocatable targets in adverse weather from standoff ranges. SDB II was the next evolution of miniature munition weapons development. The purpose of the Risk Reduction phase was to define and validate a system concept that meets the performance requirements outlined in the SDB II System Performance Specification. At the time, $15,890,000 ($8,200,000 & $7,690,000) had been obligated. The work was planned to be completed by October 2009. Headquarters Air-To-Ground Munitions Systems Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, was the contracting activity.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced their teaming agreement to produce SDB Increment II in October 2005. As the prime contractor, Boeing would supply the air vehicle, a derivative of SDB Increment I, as well as, the data link system. Lockheed Martin, the principal supplier, would provide the multi-mode seeker that fulfilled the U.S. Air Force and Navy requirement for hitting moving targets. This solution integrated Lockheed Martin's multi-mode seeker technology with Boeing's extremely capable SDB system. The Boeing SDB Weapon system family, to which the all-weather, 250-pound SDB II would be added, quadruples the weapon load on every U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft. The SDB system, with its GBU-39 weapon, was expected to be deployed on the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle later in 2005. As the prime contractor, Boeing would have responsibility for the overall weapon system, including the air vehicle, based on SDB Increment I, which entered low-rate initial production in April 2005. Lockheed Martin had total sub-system responsibility for the seeker system. Lockheed Martin's multi-mode seeker was designed to enable all-weather attack and classification of moving targets, a critical requirement of SDB II. The seeker completed extensive work and testing as part of the Joint Common Missile (JCM) program, making it a low-risk approach. The terminal guidance provided by the seeker was expected to enable aircrews to attack more targets with fewer sorties.

The SDB II program Acquisition Strategy and funding adjusted to incorporate GAO recommendations (B295402, 18 Feb 05). The U.S. Air Force was expected to award a sole source contract for the SDB II system design and development phase by late 2009.

As of March 2007 Two of SDB II's five critical technologies were mature and were currently in use on the SDB I program. The remaining technologies were expected to be nearly mature by development start in December 2009. SDB II awarded two risk reduction phase contracts to Boeing and Raytheon in May 2006. The risk reduction phase was planned to last 42 months, at the end of which Boeing and Raytheon would compete for the system development and demonstration contract to be awarded in December 2009. First SDB II delivery was expected in 2014.

In a March 2007 Report by the Government Accountability Office, it was noted that two of the five critical technologies for the SBD Increment II, the airframe and the guidance and control system, were considered mature. These two technologies were leveraged from legacy Air Force and Navy weapons. Three others, the multi-mode seeker, net-ready data link, and payload (warhead and fuze) needed further development. The seeker was at the time the least mature, and according to program officials, would be the most challenging technology to demonstrate due to the complexity of the algorithms it was expected to require and the need to package the multimode seeker into a small volume. The program expected that each critical technology would be mature or approaching full maturity when the program began system development and demonstration in December 2009.

According to program officials, the strategy for maturing these technologies was to "test early, test often," using modeling and simulation techniques, and relying on other programs that have used the same or similar technologies. Each contractor would conduct these activities separately. At the down select point, the program planned to evaluate the contractors on the level of technology maturity they achieved during the risk reduction phase.

Also according to the GAO report was that the government planned to procure the SDB II based on a contractor-developed and government-approved system of performance specifications, which would become contractually binding at down select in 2009. The contractor would be accountable for system performance. Accordingly, the contractor was responsible not only for the design of the weapon system, but also for planning the developmental test and evaluation program to verify the system performance. The government would assess the contractor's verification efforts for adequacy before three major decision points: award of low-rate production contract, declaration that the system is ready for dedicated operational test, and award of full-rate production after the beyond low rate production assessment.

As of a 2008 GAO assessment, two of the five critical technologies for SDB II were said to be in use on legacy Air Force and Navy systems. All technologies were expected to be nearing full maturity by the planned development start in December 2009. The first SDB II delivery was expected in fiscal year 2014.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:51:20 ZULU