Raytheon’s StormBreaker smart weapon has been officially approved by the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command for operational use on the F-15E. It means the F-15E squadrons can now be equipped with StormBreaker and deployed for missions.
“StormBreaker delivers an unprecedented capability to pilots in the field,” said Paul Ferraro, vice president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Air Power business. “The weapon gives airmen a significant advantage – the ability to strike maritime or land-based maneuvering targets at range in adverse weather.“
The development of the GBU-53/B StormBreaker has been carried out by Raytheon since 2006 by order of the U.S. Department of Defense. The air-launched, precision-guided glide bomb features an innovative multimode seeker that guides the weapon by imaging infrared, millimeter-wave radar and semi-active laser in addition to or with GPS and inertial navigation system guidance.
The weapon weighs 204 lb (93 kg) with a length of 69-inch (176 cm) and a diameter of 6–7 inches (15–18 cm). It can fly more than 45 miles (72 km) to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews spend in harm’s way. The developers indicate the ability to hit fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all weather conditions.
The glide bomb’s small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as larger weapons that require multiple jets. In addition to the F-15E, this ammunition is planned to equip the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“The weapon has proven itself in many complex test scenarios, against a variety of targets in extreme environmental conditions, and is now ready to fly,” said Cristy Stagg, StormBreaker program director at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “With its multimode seeker and datalink, StormBreaker will make adverse weather irrelevant.“