Raytheon to build StormBreaker missiles with tri-mode seekers, millimeter-wave radar, and infrared homing

Jan. 3, 2024
The winged StormBreaker's radar and infrared guidance can guide the missile to moving targets in darkness, rain, fog, smoke or dust.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Smart munitions designers at Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX) will provide the U.S. Air Force with more than 1,000 radar- and infrared-guided air-to-ground missiles under terms of a $344.6 million order announced Friday.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking the RTX Raytheon segment in Tucson, Ariz., for production lot 10 of the GBU-53/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.

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The StormBreaker air-to-ground smart weapon with multimode seeker 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 to stave-off component obsolescence in StormBreaker multimode seeker-equipped air-to-ground missiles

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 February 2025. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at https://www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.aflcmc.af.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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