GBU-39B Focused Lethality Munition
Weight: 250 pounds
Status: In service
Rather than a steel casing that hurls deadly fragments several hundred feet in each direction, the FLM has a carbon-fiber casing that disintegrates into harmless dust. In addition, the explosive filler is mixed with small tungsten particles that slow down rapidly due to air friction. This creates a concentrated zone of destruction just a few meters across, with little damage outside that radius.
The FLM—one version of what's called a small diameter bomb (SDB)—was first used in Iraq in 2006. "An SDB or SDBs can take out a critical section of a building, not necessarily the entire structure," says Gary Rodenberg, the program manager for Boeing's SDB division. "For example, just the radio room or a satellite dish in a communications facility, or perhaps a military jet in a hardened hangar that was intentionally co-located in a civilian airport." The weapon's smaller size is also an advantage. "SDB offers war fighters tremendous flexibility on today's ever-changing battlefields," he says. "Each SDB carriage on an aircraft's load-out allows the pilot to quadruple the number of surgical strikes they can conduct on each sortie."