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USAF Purchases 1,500 StormBreaker Air-to-Surface ‘Smart’ Munitions

The US Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $320-million contract to produce and deliver 1,500 GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-to-surface “smart” munitions.

The work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, through June 2027.

“Having StormBreaker in the warfighter’s arsenal provides unprecedented capability against moving targets, regardless of conditions,” Raytheon president of Air Power Paul Ferraro said.

“It also expands our production line and reinforces our commitment of ensuring the warfighter has the next-level munitions they need to safely and successfully accomplish the mission.”

StormBreaker Features

The 200-pound (91 kilograms) weapon measures 69 inches (175 centimeters) long, 7 inches (18 centimeters) in diameter, and carries a 105-pound (47 kilograms) warhead.

It uses a tri-mode seeker, including a millimeter-wave radar and imaging infrared, to “see through fog, smoke, and rain to glide over 45 miles (72 kilometers) and strike at a fixed or moving target on land or at sea,” Raytheon states

The weapon includes GPS, inertial guidance, and a data link.

The munition also features “shape charge jets, fragmentation, and blast charge effects” to destroy targets such as tanks.

F-15E carrying StormBreaker bomb
An F-15E Strike Eagle carrying StormBreaker bombs. Photo: William Lewis/US Air Force

Small Diameter Bomb Program

StormBreaker was cleared for use aboard US Air Force F-15E aircraft in 2020. Tests are underway to field it on the F-35A and B and F/A-18.

The air force commenced the weapon’s development in 2006, awarding Raytheon a $144-million risk reduction contract under the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II program.

Three years later, Raytheon was awarded a $450-million “engineering, manufacturing, and development” contract and, in 2019, a $200-million life cycle support contract, including “integration, production, and sustainment” of the Stormbreaker until 2024.

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