F-35 tested ammunition with radar, infrared, and a semi-active laser

WASHINGTON – At the end of 2021, the US Air Force conducted a test of a new small munition, developed by Raytheon and launched by an F-35 stealth fighter, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a statement by the US company.

F-35 tested ammunition with radar, infrared, and a semi-active laser
Photo credit: Raytheon

It is a StormBreaker – a missile that communicates with the fighter pilot. This was the essence of the test – to test the communication capabilities of the “smart” ammunition.

The main application of StormBreaker is its use in bad weather conditions – fog, high clouds, low visibility, dust from helicopters, darkness, smoke, and more. After being fired by the fighter pilot, the winged ammunition begins to search, detect and automatically classify the moving enemy target in the air. After performing these basic functions, the ammunition continues to follow the moving target and eventually strikes it.

StormBreaker is a very “flexible” weapon, which has three main modes of operation:
“Millimeter-wave radar detects and tracks targets over time.”

  • The infrared image provides improved target discrimination.
  • The semi-active laser allows the weapon to track an air laser pointer or one on the ground.

The characteristic of this ammunition is that the information from the three modes described above is shared between them, which guarantees with high precision and accuracy the task.

The StormBreaker is small in size and can fly up to 45 miles. This allows the air force to repel enemy aircraft using fewer fighters from the Air Force. StormBreaker reduces the flight time in the air of crews chasing a target, which is an additional guarantee to save their lives. This also reduces costs.

According to a source in BulgarianMilitary.com, the US Air Force has already approved StormBreaker for part of the armament of the F-15E. The test that was performed shows that soon the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and even the F / A-18E / F Super Hornet can also get this “smart” ammunition.


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