Raytheon to provide air-to-ground smart munitions with tri-mode seekers for F-35 and F/A-18E/F combat jets

Oct. 23, 2020
The StormBreaker winged smart munitions with tri-mode seekers autonomously detect and classify moving targets in darkness, rain, fog, smoke or dust.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Smart munitions designers at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will provide the U.S. Air Force with more than 1,000 radar- and infrared-guided air-to-ground munitions under terms of a $239.1 million order announced last week.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., to provide product lot six of the GBU-54/B StormBreaker -- also known as the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II.

Like the GPS-guided GBU-39 SDB I already integrated on the F-35 joint strike fighter, the 208-pound StormBreaker is six to seven inches in diameter. This size can fit eight StormBreaker munitions in the F-35’s confined internal weapon bays. If stealth is not a factor, about 16 more can fit on the F-35's wings.

Related: Air Force to enable smart weapons to track and kill sources of electronic warfare (EW) jamming

The StormBreaker air-to-ground smart weapon can hit moving targets in bad weather. The winged munition autonomously detects and classifies moving targets in darkness, rain, fog, smoke or dust.

The smart munition for guidance uses millimeter wave active radar homing, semi-active laser guidance, infrared homing with an uncooled imaging infrared camera, GPS-coupled inertial guidance, and radio data-links back to the aircraft.

Its millimeter wave radar detects and tracks targets through weather; imaging infrared provides enhanced target discrimination; and its semi-active laser enables the weapon to track a laser designator on the aircraft, or on the ground.

Related: Raytheon hardening SDB II smart munitions against electromagnetic jamming and cyber attack

The tri-mode seekers share targeting information among all three modes to engage fixed or moving targets any time, and in any weather. The weapon can also fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets.

The StormBreaker can launch from the F-35, as well as from the Navy the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet carrier-based jet fighter-bomber. It also is officially approved for operational use on the Air Force F-15E jet fighter-bomber.

On this order Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by November 2023. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at www.rtx.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.aflcmc.af.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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