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US Navy Fields RTX’s StormBreaker Smart Weapon on Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet


US Navy Fields RTX’s StormBreaker Smart Weapon on Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

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GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb
GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb

Raytheon, an RTX business, announced that the U.S. Navy has fielded the company’s StormBreaker smart weapon on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F/A-18 is the first approved U.S. Navy aircraft to carry StormBreaker. Building off the knowledge of F-15E fielding, Raytheon was able to reduce the number of required flight tests, saving time and resources to provide this capability to the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Air Force declared Initial Operating Capability for StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2022, and all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are currently in integration testing with StormBreaker. It is integrated on the F-15E Strike Eagle and will be integrated into the F/A-18 Hornet and F-35 Lightning fighters. Its first flight was announced on May 1, 2009. A contract to start low rate initial production was awarded to Raytheon in June 2015.

The GBU-53/B StormBreaker, previously known as the Small Diameter Bomb II, is an American air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb. Development was started in 2006 for a 250 pounds (113 kg) class bomb that can identify and strike mobile targets from standoff distances in all weather conditions. StormBreaker features an innovative multimode seeker that guides the weapon by using an imaging infrared camera, millimeter-wave radar, and semi-active laser in addition to, or with, GPS and inertial navigation system guidance. StormBreaker’s small size lets fewer aircraft address the same number of targets compared to larger weapons that require multiple jets. It can also fly more than 40 miles to strike moving land and maritime targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews spend in harm’s way.

 GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb.
GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb. (Photo by Raytheon)

“The weapon’s unprecedented capabilities provide aviators with the ability to strike targets in difficult and dynamic scenarios. StormBreaker is a prime example of how we are using digital technologies to deliver advanced air dominance weapons, ensuring the continued relevance of fourth-generation aircraft,” said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon.

Raytheon, an RTX business, is a leading provider of offensive and defense solutions to help the U.S. government, our allies and partners defend their national sovereignty and ensure their security. For more than 100 years, Raytheon has developed new technologies and enhanced existing capabilities in integrated air and missile defense, smart weapons, missiles, advanced sensors and radars, offensive and defensive cybersecurity tools, interceptors, space-based systems, hypersonics and missile defense across land, air, sea and space. RTX is the world’s largest aerospace and defense company. With more than 180,000 global employees, we push the limits of technology and science to redefine how we connect and protect our world. Through industry-leading businesses – Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Raytheon – we are advancing aviation, engineering integrated defense systems for operational success, and developing next-generation technology solutions and manufacturing to help global customers address their most critical challenges. The company, with 2022 sales of $67 billion, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.

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