In a significant leap forward for the US Navy’s air-to-surface capabilities, Raytheon’s StormBreaker smart weapon has been successfully field tested on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
This achievement signifies a remarkable milestone in modern warfare technology and introduces a game-changing precision-guided munition into the US military’s arsenal.
StormBreaker, previously known as the Small Diameter Bomb II, boasts a range of cutting-edge features that empower it to autonomously detect and engage moving targets, even in extreme weather conditions.
A Revolutionary Milestone for the US Navy
The US Navy’s approval of the StormBreaker for operational use on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet marks a pivotal moment in the weapon’s deployment history.
The Super Hornet became the first US Navy aircraft to be equipped with this advanced air-to-surface munition, placing great emphasis on the Navy’s commitment to enhancing its combat capabilities through harnessing the power of innovative technology.
StormBreaker’s inception and journey to operational readiness have been nothing short of impressive. It was built upon the foundations of the Small Diameter Bomb II program, which culminated in the approval for F-15E Strike Eagle operational flights. The integration process was streamlined, saving valuable time and resources. As a result, the US Air Force declared Initial Operating Capability for the StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2022. This successful deployment of the StormBreaker on a variety of aircraft emphasizes the adaptability and effectiveness of this precision-guided munition.
Multimode Seeker: Guiding the Future of Precision Warfare
At the heart of StormBreaker’s capabilities is its state-of-the-art multimode seeker that integrates a range of technologies, including an imaging infrared camera, millimeter-wave radar, semi-active laser, GPS, and inertial navigation system guidance.
Furthermore, this multimode guidance system enables StormBreaker to engage targets with unparalleled precision and adapt to various operational scenarios, including those with challenging weather conditions.
Compact Size, Extended Reach: A Dual Advantage
The compact size of the StormBreaker provides a twofold advantage. First, it allows for an increased payload per mission, which means fewer aircraft are required to engage the same number of targets compared to larger munitions.
Second, its small size doesn’t compromise its range.
StormBreaker can cover over 40 miles (approximately 54 kilometers), making it suitable for striking both mobile maritime and land targets.
This range extends the reach of the aircraft, reducing the time aircrews spend in harm’s way, thereby enhancing their safety.
Striking Moving Targets with Precision
One of the most striking features of the StormBreaker is its ability to engage moving targets, even in adverse weather conditions.
This capability is a game-changer for the national defense.
StormBreaker’s operational flexibility ensures it can effectively address challenging and dynamic scenarios, making it an invaluable asset to the US military.
It also enables aviators to strike targets with precision, giving them the upper hand in situations where rapid and accurate target engagement is essential.
Digital Technologies and Air Dominance
The successful integration and deployment of StormBreaker exemplify the utilization of digital technologies to deliver advanced air dominance weapons.
As stated by Paul Ferraro, the president of Air Power at Raytheon:
“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.”
In an ever-evolving landscape of modern warfare, digital technology has become a linchpin in maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of military aircraft.
📰 NEWS: @USNavy fields RTX’s StormBreaker smart weapon on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
The F/A-18 is the first approved U.S. Navy aircraft to carry StormBreaker.
— RTX (@RTX_News) November 7, 2023
Versatile Integration and International Demand
This revolutionary air-to-surface weapon is not confined to a single aircraft type.
StormBreaker has undergone extensive testing and integration with various aircraft in the US military.
The successful fielding of the F-15E Strike Eagle and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet represents a testament to its adaptability.
Moreover, integration with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is underway, further expanding its utility and reach across different platforms.
The versatility of StormBreaker is a testament to its innovative design and its potential to shape the future of air-to-surface warfare.
Global Impact and Future Prospects
StormBreaker’s potential isn’t limited to US military operations alone.
Raytheon, the developer of StormBreaker, has secured several contracts, including a $320-million contract in 2023 to supply the US with 1,500 StormBreakers.
In the same year, an order was received to deliver 500 StormBreakers for a US foreign military sale to Norway. Additionally, the Czech Republic was awarded a separate contract to supply StormBreaker rounds. These international contracts reflect the global interest and demand for this advanced air-to-surface weapon.
The ability of the StormBreaker to engage targets with precision at extended ranges and in challenging conditions positions it as a powerful tool for modern warfare.
It brings an unprecedented level of capability to the US Navy and the broader American forces, enhancing their effectiveness and safety in various operational scenarios.
As technology continues to advance, the integration of digital technologies, like those found in StormBreaker, remains essential for maintaining the relevance of fourth-generation aircraft and ensuring the supremacy of national defense capabilities.
Embracing the Future of Precision Warfare
In conclusion, the successful fielding of the StormBreaker smart weapon on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet by the US Navy represents a groundbreaking achievement in modern warfare technology.
With its innovative multimode seeker, compact size, and operational flexibility, StormBreaker provides aviators with the ability to engage moving targets in challenging conditions, extending the reach of their aircraft and reducing their exposure to threats.
This precision-guided munition is a testament to the power of digital technologies in enhancing national defense capabilities and ensuring the continued relevance of fourth-generation aircraft.
With international contracts in place, StormBreaker’s impact is poised to extend beyond US borders, further solidifying its role as a game-changer in air-to-surface weaponry.