The US Air Force has awarded Raytheon Missiles and Defense a $250 million contract modification for work on the GBU-53/B StormBreaker small diameter bomb II (SDB II).
The latest contract will cover design, development, integration, test and production engineering for changes to the SDB II GBU-53/B technical and production baseline, a Pentagon contract announcement said. It also brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $700 million.
Raytheon is expected to complete this work by August 2027.
The US Air Force awarded the contract after its 391st Fighter Squadron became the first operational unit to use the GBU-53/B in November this year. The bomb was approved for use on the F-15E in 2020, and the service and Raytheon dropped 14 StormBreaker weapons during the 2021 Weapons System Evaluation Program.
The StormBreaker measures at 69 inches long, 6-7 inches in diameter, weighs 204 pounds and carries a 105 pound warhead. By using a combination of millimeter wave active radar homing, semi-active laser guidance, infrared homing, GPS coupled inertial guidance and data-link, the bomb is proven to strike stationary targets at 69 miles and moving targets at 45 miles.
Raytheon says that although the smart weapon is small, the combination of its shape charge jets, fragmentation and blast charge effects, and an option for a delayed smart fuze, are powerful enough to defeat tanks.
Another benefit of the StormBreaker is its networking capabilities. This means one platform could launch it but hand off controls to another. That will be an important capability as the US military aims to connect sensors, platforms and weapon systems across the traditional domains of land, air, sea and space.
While the GBU-53/B is currently only approved for integration on the Strike Eagle, results from recent flight test are expected to support the employment of StormBreaker on US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and eventually fifth generation platforms such as the F-35.