F-35B releases StormBreaker smart weapon in first-ever munition drop
Test also demonstrated network capabilities between F-35B and F/A-18
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., (Nov. 29, 2021) — Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and the U.S. Navy conducted the first-ever weapon drop of a StormBreaker® smart weapon from a Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II.
During the test, an F-35B naval aviator used the network-enabled weapon as a guided munition, following the same method one would use in combat, from mission planning to release.
“The weapon’s operational flexibility increases the F-35’s capability and capacity, and it helps limit the time our warfighters spend in harm’s way,” said Alison Howlett, StormBreaker program director at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “StormBreaker allows pilots to hit moving targets in adverse weather conditions, which our adversaries have relied on in the past to avoid detection.”
After the F-35B released the weapon, a nearby F/A-18F Super Hornet monitored fly-out of the weapon over a common network. The Super Hornet continued monitoring of the weapon until successful impact, demonstrating successful network connectivity capability.
StormBreaker and the F-35B will continue developmental then operational testing to prove out safety and capability. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy will declare initial operating capability on the Super Hornet after operational testing concludes.
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