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12:29 PM, July 18, 2018
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Stormbreaker Bomb (Image Source:Raytheon)

Raytheon's Small Diameter Bomb II, or SDB II or StormBreaker has entered the operational testing phase followed by the completion of Operational Test Readiness Review in Spring 2018.

StormBreaker will be fielded first on the F-15E Strike Eagle, and is planned to be integrated onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by 2022, the company said in a press statement Monday. Operational test flights are slated to begin in Summer 2018.

The StormBreaker bomb, a Raytheon program for the US Air Force, will provide pilots to strike manoeuvring targets in adverse weather. The seeker works in three modes to provide maximum operational flexibility: millimeter wave radar to detect and track targets through weather, imaging infrared for enhanced target discrimination and semi-active laser that enables the weapon to track an airborne laser designator or one on the ground, according to the company website.

The integrated seeker shares targeting information among all three modes, enabling the weapon to engage fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all-weather conditions. The StormBreaker bomb's tri-mode seeker can also peer through battlefield dust and debris, giving the warfighter a capability that's unaffected by conditions on the ground or in the air.

The weapon can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets. Its small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as previous, larger weapons that required multiple jets.

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