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Raytheon Technologies awarded US$320 million for StormBreaker smart weapon

The US Air Force has awarded Raytheon Technologies a US$320 million (AUD$478 million) contract to produce and deliver 1,500 GBU-53B StormBreaker® smart weapons – formerly known as the Small Diameter Bomb.

The air-launched StormBreaker is a network enabled glide bomb that autonomously detects and classifies moving targets in poor visibility caused by battlefield obscurants, or by darkness, bad weather, smoke or dust, using its multi-effects warhead and tri-mode seeker.

The weapon’s tri-mode seeker is intended to provide maximum operational flexibility:

  • Millimeter wave radar detects and tracks targets through weather
  • Imaging infrared provides enhanced target discrimination
  • Semi-active laser enables the weapon to track an airborne laser designator or one on the ground

The tri-mode seeker shares targeting information among all three modes, enabling StormBreaker to engage fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all weather conditions. Its small size – 93kg, 1.76m long and with a diameter of 150-180mm, depending on version – enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as larger weapons that require multiple jets, says Raytheon. 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.

StormBreaker is officially approved for operational use on the F-15E and the US Air Force and Navy have begun integration activities on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

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