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.


Loooong Range Sniper Rifle

The good folks at NOSINT bring us news that the Guided MLRS rocket now has a range of 85 kilometers, instead of the old 70km range.


That’s about 53 miles. That means from central Orange county, I can put a round through a window in Santa Monica.

Originally, the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) was a “shotgun” the division or corps commander could use to blanket an enemy artillery battery or tank formation with many thousands of bomblets. It was used to great effect in this role during Desert Storm.


Now, in an urban setting, dropping hundreds or thousands of bomblets is considered bad form. Also, since the insurgents are often hiding in buildings, a bigger warhead is needed. While the GMLRS doesn’t have the punch of a 500 or 2000 pound laser guided bomb, it is often quicker to get a round on target than working a request for air support through the chain of command. The smaller warhead also reduces collateral damage.