The GBU-53/B small diameter bomb II, or Stormbreaker, was formally accepted into service with the USAF in late September on that service’s Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle.
The tri-mode 120kg precision-guided bomb has a millimetre-wave radar, infrared imaging, a semi-active laser, GPS/INS, and a glide range of more than 70km when launched at altitude. The weapon was accepted into USAF service after 138 developmental and operational launches, and a 12-month delay following a design fault with the weapon’s pop-out wing and fin kit.
“The SDB II StormBreaker is ready for operational use after undergoing extensive development and flight testing,” the USAF’s SDB II program manager, Col. Jason Rusco said in a statement. “The fielding milestone is the culmination of years of incredible work conducted by our joint military and industry teams. This capability is unmatched and is a game-changer for national defence.”
The GBU-53/B will next enter service with the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet before the end of the 2020, and then with the F-35 Lightning II in 2021. The weapons will also form part of the RAAF’s Project AIR 6000 Phase 3 F-35 weapons project which was approved in April 2019, and may also be adopted for the RAAF’s F/A-18F fleet.