Raytheon Missiles & Defense together with the US Navy have successfully completed StormBreaker weapon release tests from a F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

The tests involved the release of two StormBreaker smart weapon guided test vehicles at a speed of 0.9 Mach. It is the fastest release performed by an F-35 aircraft.

The second smart weapon was deployed within 30 minutes of the first weapon’s release. 

Raytheon claimed that the two weapons performed the required flight behaviours after being released from the aircraft.

This resulted in the completion of a seven shot rate capture series, which is necessary to propel the F-35B test programme into the next weapon capability evaluation phase.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense Air Power president Paul Ferraro said: “No other fielded air-to-surface weapon can accomplish what StormBreaker can against complex targets in contested environments.

“Tests like these continue progress on integrating StormBreaker into fifth-generation platforms in an effort to get this much needed capability to the US and allied war fighters as soon as possible.”

According to Raytheon, StormBreaker provides an increased loadout that allows it to engage more targets per sortie.

The weapon features multi-mode seeker, multi-effect warhead and effective target engagement.

It is an all-weather solution, capable of engaging both stationary and moving targets, from over 45 miles, even in poor visibility conditions.

In November 2021, the US Navy and Raytheon completed StormBreaker’s first drop test from F-35B aircraft.

The roadmap for StormBreaker’s integration now involves expansion to other crewed and uncrewed platforms, including the US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Earlier this year, the US Air Force has already declared initial operational capability for StormBreaker weapon on F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft.