The State Department has approved a possible $815 million sale to Australia of nearly 4,000 small guided glide bombs made by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems.
The proposed sale of the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) supports the ongoing sale of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter to the Royal Australian Air Force, the State Department said in a foreign military sales notice.
The deal would include 3,900 SDB IIs, plus test and training rounds, test equipment, transportation, maintenance, warranties and test and engineering services.
Despite fitment issues that prompted an engineering redesign, Raytheon says the F-35 will be able to carry up to eight SDB IIs in its internal weapons bay by the time the weapon is deployed in 2022.
The roughly six-foot long, 200-pound SBD II can glide to hit targets more than 40 miles away, with a tri-mode seeker that allows it to navigate through all weather and smoke to strike stationary or moving targets.