An F-22A with the 411th FLTS flies a test mission with
four GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs on board. 2/2/07
Photo: USAF / Darin Russell
3/2/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- The 411th Flight Test
Squadron began integration testing of the F-22A Raptor and the
GBU-39/B Small-Diameter Bomb here in February.
The weapon is a low-cost, stand-off, next generation precision
strike weapon, capable of flying autonomously.
The bomb is guided by an inertial navigation system with global
positioning system updates, said Jeff Randolph, flight test
engineer for The Boeing Company's Small Diameter Bomb program
"When the Air Force wants to increase the capability of
an aircraft here, they ask for us to put together a test plan
specifically for Edwards," said Brad Jackson, Performance
Engineer for Lockheed Martin F-22 Flight Test Center Combined
Test Force. The test plan explains the test program and what
it is geared to accomplish. Then it is evaluated to assure the
safety of the program.
Less aircraft and pilots are lost because of this process,
Mr. Jackson said.
Integrating the F-22's stealth and speed and the small-diameter
bomb's autonomous standoff capability enables the warfighter
to launch a small-diameter bomb more than 60 nautical miles
from the target, Mr. Jackson said.
The 250-pound class small-diameter bomb takes target information
from the aircraft and flies using an onboard computer after
release from the aircraft
"The small diameter bomb with its four-place carriage
enables four times the targets to be destroyed on an F-22 sortie
while reducing collateral damage around those targets,"
Mr. Randolph said.
The 500 to 2,000-pound bombs normally used by the Air Force
are less practical against a military target located in a city
because they may damage homes and cause civilian casualties,
Mr. Randolph said. The 250-pound SDB weapon increases the warfighters
capabilities by allowing less aircraft to carry more weapons
that can be used where other weapons cannot be.
Four SDBs and its BRU-61 carriage can be loaded in each weapon
bay of the Raptor, Mr. Randolph said. This enables the F-22
to carry a total of eight SDB weapons in addition to two AMRAAMs.
"The F-22 is the premier Air Force fighter so it is beneficial
to give it the air-to-ground capability," Mr. Randolph
said. "This capability allows the aircraft to establish
air superiority and also perform strike missions. The whole
purpose of this testing is to integrate the SDB with the F-22
for operational use."
Future integration tests include separation tests of the small
diameter bomb from an F-22.
Source: USAF Edwards AFB Press Release by Senior Airman