Raytheon Missiles Won a $239.1 million contract modification
for StormBreaker (SDBII, GBU-53/B) production Lot 6. Designed to address critical troop needs, the StormBreaker can detect, track, and destroy stationary or moving targets with high-precision and stand-off range during the day and at night in all-weather conditions. The GBU-53/B
, originally known as the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), has a tri-mode guidance system able to find targets using imaging infrared or millimeter-wave radar, or using semi-active laser homing to hit a designated aimpoint. Depending on the altitude of the launching aircraft, the weapon can also glide up to 69 miles on its own using a GPS-assisted inertial navigation system, after which could strike a specific coordinate or begin searching for a target. Just recently it was announced that the Air Force approved the bomb for use on the F-15. This means that the service will now be able to send the weapons downrange for use by F-15E squadrons Work under the modification will take place in Tucson, Arizona. Estimated completion date is November 28, 2023.
The 250 pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb gives American fighters the ability to carry more high-precision GPS-guided glide bombs, without sacrificing punching power against fortified targets. The initial award to Boeing was controversial, and the Darlene Druyun corruption scandal ultimately forced a re-compete of the Increment II development program. Whereas the initial GBU-39 SDB-I offered GPS-guided accuracy in a small and streamlined package, the goal of the GBU-53 SDB-II competition was a bomb that could hit moving targets in any weather, using a combination of guidance modes.
For the SDB-II competition, Boeing found itself allied with Lockheed Martin, its key opponent for the initial SDB-I contract. Its main competitor this time was Raytheon, whose SDB-II bid team found itself sharing its tri-mode seeker technology with a separate Boeing team, as they compete together for the tri-service JAGM missile award against… Lockheed Martin. So, is Raytheon’s win of the SDB-II competition also good news for its main competitor? It’s certainly good news for Raytheon, who wins a program that could be worth over $5 billion.