F-22

The US Air Force’s reserve pilots from the 302nd fighter squadron have successfully dropped joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs) from the F-22 Raptor tactical fighter aircraft.

Conducted during a recent unit training assembly (UTA), the training involved the upgraded F-22 aircraft installed with increment 3.2A, a software upgrade package.

The software upgrades offer the F-22s with electronic protection against jamming, better Link 16 receive capability and combat identification, among others.

477th Fighter Group commander colonel David Piffarerio said: "Performing this mission on a UTA is critical to readiness because it allows our unit to practise actual weapons build, loading, pre-flight, and employment.

"In addition, this validates the maintainers, aircraft and pilots are ready to employ downrange with the new increment 3.2A capability."

As part of the training, the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron from Nellis AFB assessed the software upgrades before it was added to the operational F-22s.

"Performing this mission on a UTA is critical to readiness because it allows our unit to practise actual weapons build, loading, pre-flight, and employment."

The UTA saw the reserve pilots drop all seven JDAMs over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which is a 2,490 square mile range equipped with live emitters and targets to create a realistic training environment.

477th AMXS Weapons Section Flight chief master sergeant Timothy Tuttle said: "This training is important because it provides our traditional reservists with the opportunity to perform their respective functions in a realistic environment.

"It is especially valuable training for weapons loaders to load munitions in a setting other than the weapons load training facility."

In May, USAF’s 411th Flight Test Squadron and F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) successfully tested two guided AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles from the F-22 aircraft.


Image: A GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition is loaded onto an Alaska F-22 during the August Unit Training Assembly weekend. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Air Force Photo/ Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso.