GBU-53/B StormBreaker SDB II completes first guided release from US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet

GBU-53/B StormBreaker SDB II completes first guided release from US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet

By Gabriele Barison
Jun 17 2020
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The F/A-18E/F will become the second fighter jet to add the weapon when the program reaches initial operational capability later this year.

The Raytheon GBU-53/B StormBreaker Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) has completed its guided release from a Super Hornet for the first time.

The F/A-18E/F 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, in Raytheon’s news release. “Super Hornet pilots will be able to use poor visibility to their advantage when StormBreaker integration is complete.”

The winged munition autonomously detects and classifies moving targets in poor visibility situations caused by darkness, bad weather, smoke or dust kicked up by helicopters.

GBU-53/B StormBreaker SDB II completes first guided release from US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet

Poor weather and battlefield obscurants continue to endanger warfighters as adversaries rely on these conditions to escape attacks. This has established the requirement for an all-weather solution that enhances warfighters’ capabilities when visibility is limited.

During the US 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 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.

StormBreaker’s small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as larger weapons that require multiple jets. The weapon can also fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews spend in harm’s way.

The F-15E Strike Eagle is the first platform to add StormBreaker; it’s also being integrated on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

VX-23 F/A-18E
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Photo credit: US Navy, Raytheon


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Gabriele Barison

Gabriele Barison

Gabriele Barison is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Co-Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. He has flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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