In recent years, type-II superlattice-based devices have completed the offer of the electronic industry in many areas of applications. Photodetection is one of them, especially in the midinfrared wavelength range. It is due to the unique feature of a superlattice material, which is a tuneable bandgap. It is also believed that the dark current of superlattice-based photodetectors is strongly suppressed due to the suppression of the band-to-band tunnelling current in a superlattice material. This argument relies, however, on a semi-classical approach that treats superlattice as a bulk material with effective parameters extracted from the k·p analysis. In the paper, a superlattice device is analysed on a quantum level: the nonequilibrium Green’s function method is applied to the two-band Hamiltonian of the InAs/GaSb superlattice p-i-n diode. The analysis concentrates on the band-to-band tunnelling with the aim to validate the correctness of a semi-classical description of the phenomenon. The results of calculations reveal that in a superlattice diode, the inter-band tunnelling occurs only for certain values of energy and in-plane momentum, for which electronic and hole sub-bands cross. The transitions occurring for vanishing in-plane momentum produce resonances in the current-voltage characteristics - the feature which was reported in a few experimental observations. This scenario is quite different from that occurring in bulk materials, where there is a range of energy-momentum pairs for which the band-to-band tunnelling takes place, and so current-voltage characteristics are free from any resonances. However, simulations show that, while not justified for a detailed analysis, the semi-classical description can be applied to superlattice-based devices for an ‘order of magnitude’ estimation of the band-to-band tunnelling current.