Raytheon [RTN] announced three milestones for defense products Monday during the start of the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, including the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II, Joint Strike Missile, and an F-16 heads-up display (HUD).
The SDB II, now known as the StormBreaker bomb, entered operational testing as of Monday after the weapon completed a successful Operational Test Readiness Review this past spring.
The Stormbreaker is an advancement over the earlier SDB I by having a a tri-mode seeker that uses imaging infrared, millimeter wave, and a semi-active laser. The company says this allows pilots to destroy moving targets despite bad weather from standoff ranges.
Operational test flights with the Stormbreaker are set to start this summer. It will be fielded first on the F-15E Strike Eagle and is planned ot be integrated onto the Air Force’s F-35A by 2022.
Separately, Raytheon announced Norway successfully test fired a Joint Strike Missile (JSM) from an F-16 Fighting Falcon. This test firing demonstrated the JSM can change course to avoid hitting a decoy target and also fly at low, radar-evading altitudes.
The JSM is a joint effort of Raytheon and Kongsberg and the missile is planned to be on both Norwegian and U.S. F-35s.
The test occurred at the Utah Test and Training Range where an F-16 fired a JSM that flew toward a pre-programmed target location. The missile’s seeker scanned the target area and diverted to the actual target instead of homing in on a dummy target, Raytheon said.
Integrating the JSM into the F-16 is the beginning of the company’s cooperative effort on the missile.
The JSM is meant to be a long-distance anti-ship fire-and forget weapon. It is designed to take on heavily defended, high-value targets.
Raytheon said this test indicated the end of a phase in the missile’s development.
“JSM demonstrated its remarkable ability to recognize and destroy specific targets in challenging flight conditions. This test signaled the completion of an important phase of development, and showed promising progress for this missile to outpace some of today’s toughest defense systems,” Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon air warfare systems, said in a statement.
Raytheon also announced it is partnering with BAE Systems to design, develop, and manufacture the projector for BAE’s Digital Light Engine (DLE) HUD on the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) F-16.
The HUD upgrade will integrate into the existing HUD space on the aircraft and require no changes to the aircraft or its computing.
The HUDS are located in front of the pilot’s line of sight and combine real-time mission critical information with a view of the outside.
The new DLE is an electro-optical upgrade to the traditional analog HUDs.
“As the technology shifts from analog to digital, Raytheon is applying its decades of expertise in digital microdisplay technologies for HUD applications. Our solution has its roots in mature rear projection technology that dates back to the 1990s,” Wolf Glage, vice president of engineering at Raytheon’s ELCAN Optical Technologies, said in a statement.
ELCAN is Raytheon’s source of the projector.
Andy Humphries, director of Advanced Head-up Displays at BAE Systems, explained that digitizing the HUD helps extend the life of the F-16 fleet.
“By removing the conventional analog system, we’re able to increase the HUD’s reliability and decrease obsolescence issues, which all lead to lower lifecycle costs,” he said.