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US Approves Potential Sale of 3,000 GBU-39 SDB I Smart Bombs to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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US Approves Potential Sale of 3,000 GBU-39 SDB I Smart Bombs to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs
GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) Munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $290 million. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested to buy three thousand (3,000) GBU-39 SDB I munitions. Also included are containers; weapon support and support equipment; spare and repair parts; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The proposed sale will improve Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions. The principal contractor will be Boeing, St. Louis, Missouri.

GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) precision-guided glide bomb.
GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) precision-guided glide bomb.

The GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) is a 250 lb (110 kg) precision-guided glide bomb that is intended to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of more accurate bombs. Most US Air Force aircraft will be able to carry a pack of four SDBs in place of a single 2,000 lb (907 kg) bomb. The size and accuracy of the SDB I allows for an effective munition with less collateral damage. The SDB I has a circular error probable (CEP) of 5–8 m (16–26 ft). CEP is reduced by updating differential GPS offsets prior to weapon release. These offsets are calculated using an SDB Accuracy Support Infrastructure, consisting of three or more GPS receivers at fixed locations transmitting calculated location to a correlation station at the theatre Air Operations Center. The corrections are then transmitted by Link 16 to SDB-equipped aircraft.

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb
Airman 1st Class Matt Aggers (left) and Staff Sgt. Randy Broome perform a final check of the stowed twin wings on four ground-training Guided Bomb Unit-39 small-diameter bombs loaded on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Aug. 1. The Airmen are aircraft weapons specialists with the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

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