Raytheon Missiles & Defense completed the first guided release of a StormBreaker smart weapon from an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft.
The Super Hornet will become the second fighter jet to add the weapon when the program reaches initial operational capability later this year.
“StormBreaker is the only weapon that enables pilots to hit moving targets during bad weather or if dust and smoke are in the area,” said Cristy Stagg, StormBreaker program director. “Super Hornet pilots will be able to use poor visibility to their advantage when StormBreaker integration is complete.”
During the U.S. Navy flight test, StormBreaker safely separated from the jet and successfully received guidance data from the plane, enabling it to be directed to its target while in flight.
StormBreaker, formerly called the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), features a revolutionary tri-mode seeker that uses imaging infrared and millimeter wave radar in its normal mode. The weapon can also deploy its semi-active laser or GPS guidance to hit targets.
This powerful, integrated seeker seamlessly shares targeting information among all three modes, enabling the weapon to engage fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all-weather conditions. The StormBreaker bomb’s tri-mode seeker can also peer through battlefield dust and debris, giving the warfighter a capability that’s unaffected by conditions on the ground or in the air.
The weapon can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews’ spend in harm’s way. Its small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as previous, larger weapons that required multiple jets.
The F-15E Eagle is the first platform to add StormBreaker; it’s also being integrated on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).