US oks a $815 mn FMS from Australia for 3,900 GBU-53/B SDB IIs

World Defense & Security News - Australia
US oks a $815 mn FMS from Australia for 3,900 GBU-53/B SDB IIs
The US State Department yestea possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia for GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) for an estimated cost of $815 million, the USDefense Security Cooperation Agency said on Oct. 2, 2017.
US oks a 815 mn FMS from Australia r 3 900 GBU 53 B SDB II 640 001Raytheon’s SDB II bomb is a guided, gliding precision weapon with a tri-mode seeker that allows it to track moving targets in low-visibility conditions such as darkness, poor weather and battlefield smoke and dust
(Credit: Raytheon)
Australia requested a possible sale of up to 3,900 GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II), up to 30 GBU-53/B Guided Test Vehicles (GTV), up to 60 GBU-53/B Captive Carry Reliability Trainers (CCRT). Also included in this sale are Weapon Load Crew Trainers (WLCT), personnel training and training equipment, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $815 million.

"The proposed sale of SDB II supports and complements the ongoing sale of the F-35A to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This capability will strengthen combined operations, particularly air to ground strike missions in all-weather conditions, and increase interoperability between the United States and the RAAF," the DSCA said.

"The proposed sale will improve Australia’s F-35 survivability and will enhance its capability to deter global threats, strengthen its homeland defense and cooperate in coalition defense initiatives," the Agency added.

Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.

In the future, a fourth operational squadron will be considered for RAAF Base Amberley, for a total of 100 F-35As.

The first F-35A aircraft will arrive in Australia in 2018 and the first squadron, Number 3 Squadron, will be operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.

Raytheon's GBU-53/B SDB II is an air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb. Its seeker works in three modes to provide maximum operational flexibility: millimeter wave radar to detect and track targets through weather, imaging infrared for enhanced target discrimination and semi-active laser that enables the weapon to track an airborne laser designator or one on the ground. The weapon can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews' spend in harm's way.