The U.S. Navy recently tested, for the first time on an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft, the GBU-53/B StormBreaker glide bomb that will give operators an upper hand in combat by hitting moving targets in some of the worst weather conditions.
The new StormBreaker smart weapon, commonly known as a smart tank hunter, is a winged munition autonomously detects and classifies moving targets in poor visibility situations caused by darkness, bad weather, smoke or dust kicked up by helicopters.
“StormBreaker is the only weapon that enables pilots to hit moving targets during bad weather or if dust and smoke are in the area,” said Cristy Stagg, StormBreaker program director. “Super Hornet pilots will be able to use poor visibility to their advantage when StormBreaker integration is complete.”
During the U.S. Navy flight test, StormBreaker safely separated from the jet and successfully received guidance data from the plane, enabling it to be directed to its target while in flight.
StormBreaker features a revolutionary tri-mode seeker that uses imaging infrared and millimeter wave radar in its normal mode. The weapon can also deploy its semi-active laser or GPS guidance to hit targets.
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 F-15E Eagle is the first platform to add StormBreaker; it’s also being integrated on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.