US Air Force tests StormBreaker smart weapon on F-35 fighter jet


According to a recent news release from Raytheon, the first-ever StormBreaker munition drop test from an F-35 was conducted in late 2021 to test the communication link between the weapon and a secondary aircraft.

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US Air Force tests StormBreaker smart weapon on F 35 fighter jet 01 StormBreaker (Picture source: Raytheon)


The StormBreaker smart weapon gives operators an upper hand in combat by hitting moving targets in some of the worst weather conditions. 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.

The weapon’s seeker works in three modes 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.


US Air Force tests StormBreaker smart weapon on F 35 fighter jet 03 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 (Picture source: Raytheon)



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.

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


US Air Force tests StormBreaker smart weapon on F 35 fighter jet 02

F-15E Eagle with Raytheon StormBreaker that features an innovative multimode seeker that guides the weapon by imaging infrared, millimeter wave radar, and semi-active laser in addition to or with GPS and inertial navigation system guidance (Picture source: Raytheon)


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