Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb

Boeing, in developing the second generation of the Small Diameter Bomb, which adds a tri-mode seeker to the concept of the existing GPS/INS SDB, recognized that the hard part of designing a precision weapon is the guidance. The airframe and warhead are usually rather straightforward. And they also had the bright idea to strap a rocket booster to the back of the SDB II, and introduce a ground launched version.

Even better, they were able to use the existing booster from original style rockets of the long serving M270 MLRS. That keeps costs down. Plus, the MLRS system’s existing infrastructure reduces costs and training needed.

While the current GPS/INS guided unitary warhead GMLRS system is fine, it is also unable to accurately target moving targets.  The SDB II was designed to strike moving targets. That’s going to increase the ability to hold at risk enemy high value/high payoff targets such as air defense systems.

We also wonder how long it will be until someone discusses the potential for coastal defense, or even a ship launched variant as an anti-ship missile system.


15 thoughts on “Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb”

  1. Hot damn. 150km range, easy reloads, tech the serving troops already know. Looks like Steel Rain can now sneak up on you from behind.

    As for ship-launched you know the Navy will want to strap it to a VLS booster and integrate it into AEGIS instead of just chocking down an M270 on the fantail.

    1. Agreed, but NIH, interservice crap, and the fact that it really would be easier to chock the unit to the deck than to integrate it means it’ll never happen. I see a similar process in the “failed” German attempts to integrate their 155 SP unit onto frigates.

  2. Steel Rain refers to DPICM, the original payload carried by the MLRS M26 rocket. GLSDB replaces the DPICM with a unitary bomb.

    Anyway, if you are using cluster bombs, why would SDB II’s high accuracy be needed.

  3. I note that this GLSDB has a much greater range (150 km) than the M30/31 rockets. Is that because of the wings? Or is the rocket motor just larger?

  4. A little off topic, but still concerning the SDB-II, does anyone know if its external dimensions are different enough from SDB to explain the problem with fitting 8 internal to the F-35B?

    In other words, is the F-35B built wrong or did SDB-II turn out larger than the original spec?

  5. Typical American thinking.

    “We made it fall better, do you think we can teach it to fly?”

    “I dunno, let’s strap it to this rocket I have lying around and see what happens.”

          1. Not open, semi-permeable. I’m all for importing all of the Americans with foreign passports. Especially if we could export all of the non-Americans who have US passports. ::glances meaningfully at the White House::

    1. The M31 is about 13 feet long and probably weighs around 700 pounds.
      The GL-SDB is likely similar.
      Could a B-52 carry a “GL-SDB” and how far would it fly if dropped from 50,000 feet.

    2. Well, at 50,000 feet and 500 KIA, the SDB alone probably has roughly the same potential energy as the new ground-launched version at burnout. What you’re proposing is essentially a conventional explosive replacement for the AGM-69 SRAM.

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