Raytheon, a subsidiary of RTX, announced the successful integration of the StormBreaker smart weapon onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jet of the US Navy.
The Raytheon StormBreaker, also known as the GBU-53/B, is an advanced precision-guided munition developed to engage a wide range of land and maritime targets, including stationary and moving armored vehicles, as well as enemy structures.
It features a multi-mode seeker system, combining millimeter-wave radar, infrared, and semi-active laser guidance in addition to, or with, GPS and inertial navigation system to ensure precise target tracking and engagement and reduce the reliance on multiple aircraft to engage targets.
The StormBreaker boasts a range of nearly 70 miles (110 kilometers) against stationary targets, and over 45 miles (72 kilometers) against moving targets. It measures approximately 69 inches (175 centimeters) in length, and weighs 204 pounds (92 kilograms), with a 105-pound (47-kilogram) warhead.
“The weapon’s unprecedented capabilities provide aviators with the ability to strike targets in difficult and dynamic scenarios,” said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon in a press release. “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.”
The US Air Force declared Initial Operating Capability for StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2022. Because of the small size of these new munitions, the F-15E Strike Eagle can carry up to 28 GBU-53/Bs. Integration testing is also underway for all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II.
Raytheon leveraged its previous experience in integrating the weapon on the F-15E Strike Eagle for the US Air Force to reduce the need for flight testing with the Super Hornet. The Super Hornet became the first US Navy aircraft to carry the StormBreaker smart weapon.