Raytheon’s GBU-53/B StormBreaker glide-bomb was approved for operational use on the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle on 23 September.
The US Department of Defense plans to start fielding the weapon on the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet later this year, followed by the Lockheed Martin F-35 at a later, undisclosed date, the US Air Force said on 13 October.
The StormBreaker is a guided bomb with a pair of wings that allow it to glide up to 35nm (64km) after being released from an aircraft.
The 93kg (204lb) bomb gets its name from its ability to fly through bad weather, darkness, smoke or dust. It is able to hit a moving target despite poor visibility by relying on an infrared sensor, millimetre-wave radar and semi-active laser, as well as GPS and inertial navigation system guidance.
Operational use of the Stormbreaker was delayed by a year after flight test failures revealed design problems that required hardware and software changes, the US Government Accountability Office disclosed in a June report. Those problems caused Raytheon to halt production of the bomb and retrofit already-built early production lot examples of the weapon with fixes.