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.

Last year, the U.S. Air Force fielded the weapon on the F-15E Strike Eagle, and the weapon has performed various live drops and weapons evaluations since.

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