Operational testing has officially begun on the “StormBreaker,” Raytheon’s new name for the Small Diameter Bomb II.
“Operation testing is planned for 12 months,” said Cristy Stagg, a Raytheon program director for the StormBreaker told Air Force Magazine.
The US government has not released an official report on the performance of the StormBreaker throughout its testing, but Raytheon representatives are positive about the results.
“Poor weather and battlefield obscurants continue to endanger warfighters as adversaries rely on these conditions to escape attacks," according to the Raytheon company website. "This has established the requirement for an all-weather solution that enhances warfighters' capabilities when visibility is limited. The StormBreaker bomb, a Raytheon program for the U.S. Air Force, will provide this capability to the warfighter.”
The StormBreaker can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets despite poor weather conditions, and can be carried by F-16s, F-15s, and F/A-18s.
The new name of the munition is a direct reflection of the capability of the weapon.
Raytheon’s company website page outlines the StormBreaker “tri-mode” seeker system, which allows it to operate in poor weather or atmospheric visibility.
“The seeker works in three modes to provide maximum operational flexibility: millimeter wave radar to detect and track targets through weather; imaging infrared for enhanced target discrimination, and a semi-active laser that enables the weapon to track an airborne laser designator or one on the ground.”
The Air Force and the Navy have begun integrating the bomb in F-35 Joint Strike Fighter activities as well.
Neil is a former US Army Captain and served operational deployments in South Korea and Afghanistan. He is currently an Editorial Fellow at the Military Times.