Small Diameter Bomb SDB Focused Lethality Munition (FLM)
In the urban conflict in Iraq, the warfighter struggles at times to find a weapon that gives them a desired effect on a target without an excessive effect, so the small diameter bomb will be a nice addition. While the warfighter is waiting to get the baseline small diameter bomb in the inventory, the program office is looking ahead to making the weapon even more valuable. Upgrades to the weapon include focused lethality munition, which would further reduce a small diameter bomb's collateral damage.
Eglin is replacing the steel casing, which has a fragmentation effect of 2,000 feet or more, with a composite casing and new explosive fill that will minimize that significantly. It basically provides a more localized kill mechanism. Like the weapon itself, this new upgrade is also being pushed hard by Air Force leadership. However, this new warhead will not be a part of every small diameter bomb off the assembly line. The contractor is not going to replace all the steel warheads with this new casing. It will just be a variant. The Inventory Objective is 450, 450 assets on-hand through the FYDP, 100-percent of inventory.
Additional SDB funding would allow the facilities to continue development of a Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) using the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) technology integrated into SDB I. With lawmakers' approval, the dollars would allow AFRL to "continue to mature FLM technology. The armament center would integrate the technology with the SDB I baseline model within the advanced technology demonstration construct and demonstrates utility through a flight test program.
When the battle scene is of an urban environment collateral damage effects play a key role during weapon selection. Low collateral damage weapons would allow for precision kills of threatening enemy combatants located in positions where traditional blast/fragmentation weapons may cause too much damage. Carbon composite cased munitions filled with Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) may offer a potential solution for acquiring a low collateral damage capability.
The FLM program is a SecAF high interest item. USCENTCOM has identified a capability gap and expressed an urgent need to fill that gap. USCENTCOM released the following Capability Need Statement: "There is an urgent operational need to provide airborne platforms, including the F-15E, the ability to kill targets having collateral damage sensitivity. Small Diameter Bomb, modified to incorporate a composite case and Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) fill, offers the potential for precisely delivering a lethal blast against soft targets and dramatically reducing collateral damage. This reduction in collateral damage will allow CoCOM's to place previously off limits targets at risk. USCENTCOM fully supports the use of a composite case warhead with a DIME fill integrated on the Small Diameter Bomb I airframe to engage collateral damage sensitive targets. This capability is needed today and USCENTCOM requests it be provided as soon as possible."
With today's technology, missions to prosecute targets in close proximity to collateral damage sensitive targets would be accomplished with weapons that create a level of damage unacceptable to CoCOMs. With FLM technology, CoCOMs will be able to prosecute targets previously off limits to the warfighter. The benefits of the technology are a decrease in innocent civilian and allied personnel lives lost within the warfighter's operations area. CoCOM's available target list expands resulting in a more efficient air war.potentially reducing conflict length.
A proposed FY2007 increase of $40.2M for Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) would incorporate alternate bomb fills and casings into SDB I. The technology promises to limit collateral damage in sensitive environments while providing additional blast margin to kill intended targets at the point of detonation. The additional funding allows Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Armament Center (AAC) to continue development of a Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) using the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) technology integrated into SDB I.
This funding will fund two parallel paths. AFRL will continue to mature FLM technology. AAC will integrate the technology with the SDB I baseline model within the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) construct and demonstrates utility through a flight test program. This effort is a New Start. It will be managed by AFRL and AAC located at Eglin AFB FL. The SDB I contractor, Boeing, will be involved in the integration effort in St Louis, MO.
No funding is contained in the FY 2007 budget request for this effort. SDB I production started in FY 2005, with ongoing development for a fixed target variant. RDT&E, R-Line # 75 (FY05 $73.5M, FY06 $38.4, FY07 $13.4). If Congress were to provide the additional amount indicated, FY08 $13.0M and FY09 $2.5M additional funding would be required to complete the project in subsequent fiscal years? No additional costs are budgeted in the current FYDP. Additional funding for this item will be pursued in the next POM cycle. AFRL has invested $4M to mature this technology. The ACTD effort would be a new start.