The U.S. Navy conducted two successful test launches of the StormBreaker precision-guided glide bomb from an F-35B Lightning II, Raytheon Missiles & Defense announced on 19 September.
StormBreaker is an air-launched, precision strike weapon equipped with a tri-mode seeker that features a millimetre wave (MMW) radar to detect and track targets through weather, imaging infrared (IIR) for enhanced target discrimination and classification, and semi-active laser (SAL) for the maximum in operational flexibility.
“No other fielded air-to-surface weapon can accomplish what StormBreaker can against complex targets in contested environments,” said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
“Tests like these continue the progress on integrating StormBreaker into fifth-generation platforms in an effort to get this much-needed capability to U.S. and allied warfighters as soon as possible.”
During the tests, the two weapons, deployed within thirty minutes of each other, successfully released and performed the required flight behaviours.
These two releases complete a seven-shot rate capture series, which allows the F-35B test program to move onto the weapon capability testing phase.
StormBreaker features an innovative multimode seeker and powerful, multi-effects warhead, enabling highly flexible and effective target engagement against moving and stationary targets more than 45 miles away.
The weapon also provides an increased loadout compared to legacy munitions, creating opportunities to address more targets per sortie.
The U.S. Air Force declared Initial Operating Capability of StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2022. The program’s integration roadmap includes further expansion to additional manned and unmanned platforms, including the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.
|Type:||Air-launched, precision-guided bomb|
|Country of origin:||United States|
|Produced:||2014 – present|
|In service:||2022 – present|
|Users:||United States Air Force, United States Navy|
|Length:||69 in (176 cm)|
|Wingspan:||68 in (168 cm)|
|Diameter:||6-7 in (15-18 cm)|
|Warhead weight:||48 kg|
|Operational range:||45 miles (72 km) + against moving targets|
|Guidance:||Millimetre wave radar; semi-active laser; GPS/INS; infrared homing|
|Launch platform:||Fixed-wing aircraft|