FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) - Missile maker Raytheon Co said its StormBreaker bomb had entered operational testing phase, bringing it a step closer to providing U.S. Air Force pilots with the capability to strike moving targets in adverse weather.
StormBreaker, formerly called the Small Diameter Bomb II, enters the phase after completing a successful Operational Test Readiness Review in Spring 2018, Raytheon said.
The bomb will be fielded first on the F-15E Strike Eagle, and is planned to be integrated onto the Lockheed Martin Corp-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by 2022, Raytheon said.
“We are pleased to hear from the U.S. Air Force that StormBreaker’s first shots in operational testing have yielded positive results,” Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president, Raytheon Missile Systems told Reuters in a statement at the Farnborough Airshow.
He said several U.S. allies have also expressed interest in the weapons system that can be integrated on numerous fighter jet platforms.
The StormBreaker tri-mode seeker uses imaging infrared, millimeter wave and semi-active laser, giving pilots the ability to destroy moving targets on the battlefield in adverse weather conditions from stand-off ranges.
The weapon is capable of flying more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time aircrews spend flying dangerous missions. Its small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as previous, larger weapons that required multiple jets, according to Raytheon.
Reporting by Mike Stone in Farnborough and Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Mark Potter