The US Air force has awarded a contract estimated almost $17.4 million to General Atomics to integrate laser small diameter bomb onto the MQ-9 Reaper drone.
“General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a $17,461,954 contract for integration of the Guided Bomb Unit-39B/B, also known as laser small diameter bomb onto the MQ-9 Reaper via universal armament interface on a dual carriage system,” the US Department of defense announced Monday.
The GBU-39B Small Diameter Bomb, or SDB, is an extended range all-weather, day or night 250-pound class, guided munition. The SDB relies on the Global Positioning System to provide navigation to the target. Additionally, its small size allows increased aircraft loadout to achieve multiple kills per sortie and inherently reduces the probability of collateral damage.
Work will be performed in Poway, California, with an expected completion date of Nov. 27, 2021, the release added.
The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the U.S. Air Force. Reapers incorporates a laser range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future GBU Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9 can also employ four laser-guided missiles, Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, which possess highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities.