Joe Biden’s Adding Smart Missiles to America’s Arsenal

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President Joe Biden’s administration has signed off on a $345 million contract to bolster production of StormBreaker weapons—a winged precision-guided bomb designed to hit moving targets in even the worst weather conditions.

The contract, first announced by the Department of Defense (DoD) on Friday, extends a $320 million deal reached in March 2023 between the U.S. Air Force and defense contractor Raytheon for the production of 1,500 StormBreaker bombs. The contract includes additional all-up rounds, containers and trainers and is expected to be completed by August 2028, according to the DoD.

F-15 Eagle jets fly over the Hudson River during the “Salute to America” military flyover on July 4, 2020, in New York City. The U.S. Air Force has approved a contract to boost production of the StormBreaker weapon, which has been approved for use on F-15E fighters.
James Devaney/Getty Images

“Fielded on two platforms with testing underway for others, StormBreaker has solidified its place as the leading network enabled weapon across the Department of Defense,” Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon, said in a release Wednesday. “With this contract, we’ll continue to evolve StormBreaker’s production to meet the needs of servicemembers for years to come.”

The smart weapon, previously known as the Small Diameter Bomb II, is an air-launched missile that uses navigational guidance technologies to strike its targets. According to Raytheon, StormBreaker is smaller in size compared to other bombs, allowing fewer aircraft to hit the same number of targets as larger weapons. It’s also made to strike assets “in poor visibility situations caused by darkness, bad weather, smoke or dust kicked up by helicopters,” and can fly over 45 miles.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Air Force’s Public Affairs Office via email for comment on Wednesday.

The smart bomb was first approved for operational use on the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter by the Air Force in October 2020. The U.S. Navy also approved the bomb’s use on its F/A-18E/F SuperHornet aircraft in November 2023. Raytheon said in its release Wednesday that testing is underway to integrate the StormBreaker with all variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The DoD said that Friday’s modified contract, which includes an additional 1,500 StormBreaker munitions, involves foreign sales of the weapons to Norway, Germany, Italy and Finland. The U.S. State Department previously approved the sale of 580 StormBreaker munitions to Norway this past summer, which totaled around $293 million.

According to a release from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale in June 2023 was intended to “improve Norway’s capability to meet current and future threats by bolstering operational readiness while enhancing air and defense capabilities with a modernized weapon.”