Procurement: July 4, 2001

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The U.S. Air Force wants smaller smart bombs and it wants them quickly. Realizing that with better and cheaper navigation devices available, it is possible to take out targets with smaller bombs, the Air Force wants 250 pound guided bombs. Called the SDB (the Small Diameter Bomb). Size matters, as the B-2 can only carry a maximum of 24 of the current bombs. A B-2 could carry 200 SDBs. The air force wants an initial order of 12,000 fixed target SDBs and another 12,000 SDBs with seekers (to go after moving targets.) Normally, a procurement project like this would take ten years or so (unless there is a war going on, in which case it would only take a few months, but that's another story.) So the air force is trying a new procurement process using a lot less paperwork. A lot of other changes to the contracting system are being tried. Thus the air force expects to get the SDB into service by 2006 (2009 for the ones with seekers.)


 


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