RAAF has taken delivery of GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1) for familiarisation training ahead of testing later this year.
The SBD1 is a 130kg bomb with GPS-guided inertial navigation, packing around 16kg of high explosives. Each F-35A is capable of carrying four SBD1s, which according to the RAAF will 'quadruple' the aircrafts' bombing capacity.
“We’ve got a next-generation bomb to go with our fifth-generation fighter,” Wing Commander Simon Bird, Chief Engineer at Aerospace Explosive Ordnance Systems Program Office (AEOSPO) – Explosive Materiel Branch, said.
“Where you used to carry one JDAM [joint direct attack munition] in a position on the aircraft, SDB1 allows you to carry four bombs that each achieve very similar effects. Although at 285lbs the SDB1 is lighter than a 500lb JDAM, it’s highly accurate and packs a more powerful, modern explosive.
“SDB1 is also designed to penetrate harder targets, or can fuse above ground to create area effects.”
The SPD1 uses 'diamondback' wings to achieve a standoff range of more than 60 kilometres. They are designed to allow the F-35A to engage separate targets from a greater distance than a JDAM.