Boeing [BA] and Saab AB are teaming on another project, this one a ground-based delivery system for Boeing’s Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), and the two companies say they’ve already successfully tested the weapon three times with potential customers present.
The weapon, called the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is comprised of a SDB munition, an interstage adaptor and a M26 rocket motor from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). The weapon, launched from an existing MLRS launcher, has a range of 150km forward and 70km backward, according to Boeing, the original SDB prime contractor.
Boeing has been working on a ground delivery variant of SDB for years Boeing Vice President of Weapons and Missile Systems Beth Kluba told reporters Tuesday at the company’s Arlington, Va., facility. Boeing began wind tunnel testing on the weapon “over the past couple years” before the two companies finalized their teaming arrangement. Kluba said Boeing and Saab finalized their agreement in August and tested the weapon in February using rocket motors provided by Nammo. Kluba said Boeing and Saab are capable of delivering a GLSDB 18-24 months after contract.
Kluba and Saab North America head Michael Andersson declined Tuesday to provide specifics on the amount of financial investment from the two companies or the investment ratio, but Andersson said the technical contributions from each company can vary based on customer. Anderson said the price of GLSDB would be “comparable” to the MLRS.
The M26 system is being demilitarized with its dual purpose improved conventional munition having been banned in a 2008 cluster munitions treaty. The Army must get rid of its entire stockpile of about 400,000 worldwide by 2019, leaving behind rocket motors. The Army decided in 2010 to replace the banned warheads with the Air Force’s SDB. Boeing spent 2012 working on a design for an interstage adapter to connect the two pieces and finding the right suppliers to work with (Defense Daily; Sept. 30, 2013).
Andersson became head of Saab North America in January when the company split up its Americas division between the north and south continents. He was previously head of Saab Americas, according to a company statement. Andersson told Defense Daily Tuesday the reorganization was to help the company focus on its work with Brazil, which awarded Saab a contract in October to provide development and production of 36 Gripen NG fighter aircraft for the Brazilian air force. The contract value is worth nearly $4.6 billion.
Boeing and Saab are also teaming for the Air Force’s T-X trainer program that analysts value at around $8.8 billion. The two companies are offering a clean sheet approach for T-X (Defense Daily, Feb. 13).