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Surface Navy 2019: Pentagon boosts StormBreaker munition Lot 5 quantity

The Pentagon recently increased the quantity of a contract for Raytheonā€™s StormBreaker GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-to-surface munition, a joint US Air Force (USAF)/US Navy (USN) acquisition programme.

Cristy Stagg, StormBreaker programme director, told Janeā€™s in mid-January 2019 that the USAF, the awarding service, contracted for 1,260 munitions as part of Lot 5, up from the 1,070 originally expected. Stagg said the Pentagon boosted the Lot 5 buy because it wanted more munitions and that the buy of 1,260 was the maximum possible.

Raytheonā€™s GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-to-surface munition mounted to a Boeing F-15 Eagle. (Raytheon)

Raytheonā€™s GBU-53/B StormBreaker air-to-surface munition mounted to a Boeing F-15 Eagle. (Raytheon)

Stagg also said 750 munitions of Lot 5 were funded by the USN while 510 were funded by the USAF. The contract arrived earlier than expected: in December 2018 rather than January 2019.

StormBreaker, formerly known as the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), is a 113 kg-class, air-launched, low-cost, all-weather, precision-glide weapon equipped with a deployable wing assembly to achieve stand-off ranges of more than 70 km.

Raytheon is also under contract for previous StormBreaker lot buys. Stagg said the company is just over 50% complete with Lot 3, a contract for 332 units for the USAF. Raytheon will commence Lot 4 deliveries once Lot 3 deliveries are completed by June 2019. Stagg added that Raytheon is on track to meet this completion date.

Raytheon expects StormBreaker operational test and evaluation (OT&E) on the USNā€™s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to be completed by 2020 and the US Marine Corpsā€™ F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to be completed by 2022. The company is in the early stages of StormBreaker integration on both aircraft.

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