Capt. Emily Grabowski, a U.S. Air Force spokeswoman, has said the service branch believes Raytheon could supply enough Small Diameter Bomb II units for initial deployment on the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft by 2019, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Grabowski told Bloomberg in an email the company “has worked diligently to address technical discoveries and is implementing the necessary factory infrastructure improvements to meet current contract requirements.”
Raytheon would need to shoulder up to $39 million in additional program costs because it has maxed out the allowed cost increase set by the Air Force under the SDB II production contract, the report said.
The Drive reported Wednesday both parties are optimistic that production and delivery of SDBs would remain on schedule despite cost overruns facing the program.
The program has encountered a number of challenges over the years, including an unsuccessful shipboard-related environmental test in 2016 that required Raytheon to update the weapon’s basic design to account for corrosion, temperature, altitude, humidity and vibration, the report noted.
SDB II is designed to engage moving targets in all-weather conditions and is slated for integration with multiple fighter aircraft platforms such as F15E, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.