HomeNewsArticle Display

F-22 performs first drop of small diameter bomb

An F-22 Raptor drops a small diameter bomb from its weapons bay during a test mission Sept. 5 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test marks the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Darin Russell)

An F-22 Raptor drops a small diameter bomb from its weapons bay during a test mission Sept. 5 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test marks the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Darin Russell)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- The F-22 Raptor Combined Test Force staff conducted the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22 during a September test mission here.

"This is a major milestone for the F-22 modernization roadmap," said Lt. Col. Daniel Daetz, the 411th Flight Test Squadron commander.

The drop was made to ensure the small diameter bomb, or SDB, would have a clean separation when released from the F-22.

"The test proved that our predictions were modeled properly," said Maj. Jack Fischer, a 411th Flight Test Squadron test pilot. "The bomb came out exactly as it should have for the first test, so we're on the right track."

Testing of the SDB with the F-22 is part of the Increment 3.1 upgrade to the aircraft, Major Fischer said.

Once the SDB is cleared for operational missions aboard the F-22, it will enable the aircraft to carry four times the weapons load, Major Fischer said. The F-22 can carry eight SDBs with two advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

"Instead of taking two Joint Direct Attack Munitions, we can carry eight SDBs," the major said. "It also increases our range considerably. The SDB envelope will be the highest and fastest of currently fielded Air Force weapons."

Carrying the SDB internally is important to maintaining the F-22's stealth because external weapons could be picked up by radar, said Bill Kuhlemeier, the Lockheed Martin chief flight test engineer. However, the requirement presents unique challenges.

"I think the real question for us is what challenges are there associated with carrying weapons internally," Major Fischer said. "No other aircraft can release a supersonic weapon out of an internal weapons bay. The flow field and shock wave interactions present a very complex challenge. Whether it's air-to-air or air-to-ground, we're still dealing with those same factors."

The F-22 was not originally designed for air-to-ground operations, Mr. Kuhlemeier said.

"We have to learn how much we can get away with while inducing loads on an aircraft that wasn't designed to carry bombs at first," he said. "We're finding ways to overcome that by making the Raptor stronger for the different missions."

The Combined Test Force's future flight test plans include expanding the F-22's delivery envelope to the full capability of the aircraft, Mr. Kuhlemeier said.

"Once we can say the bomb can safely be released from the aircraft, we will move to guided tests," he said. "We will then release the weapons to see if they hit their targets. We're starting easy and working our way up to more difficult tests."

Major Fischer said integration of the SDB with the F-22 is important to the warfighter because it puts almost everything in their target set.

"Targets we can't get with most weapons, we can get with the F-22 because we have stealth," he said. "With this weapon and aircraft, there is no place we can't reach and no place for an enemy to hide." 

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page

Engage

Facebook Twitter
We're proud to introduce the 2019 Air Force Warrior Games team! The 40 team members will compete during the… https://t.co/mQVxXwip01
#MedalofHonor recipient #USAF Col. (Ret.) Joe M. Jackson was interred @ArlingtonNatl today. Known as an #AirForce H… https://t.co/Q4H59xYGA3
RT @AFSpace: "If at first you don't succeed, fly, fly again!" @NASA_Astronauts @AstroHague completed his first #spacewalk on Friday while r…
This #HercWork was truly herculean! Eight units. Seven days. One team. Recently #C130 J units from around the globe… https://t.co/QzsEWlCOqK
#ICYMI, @SecAFOfficial recently met with @Offutt_AFB leaders & elected officials to discuss the base's rebuilding e… https://t.co/FDVGeNlTi0
The #USAF is looking for men and women for the 2019 Armed Forces Triathlon June 19-23, in Ventura County,… https://t.co/Dqjgj02qC8
Part of being in the military involves traveling to foreign countries. The #380AEW Host Nation Coordination Office… https://t.co/6mKtO5NWqj
Sharp eyesight is key to an #Airman’s readiness to fly, fight & win. This #AirForce Tech Report highlights how… https://t.co/MaxAEXIOpz
Next-generation warfighting is all about data...yet sometimes our email doesn’t even load. @USecAF_Official is driv… https://t.co/5DsspMgYv8
Today is #MedalofHonorDay and we take a moment to honor our nation’s greatest heroes who have received the highest… https://t.co/B5CVsuV3vX
From foster kid to #Airman, mentor and raising the #AirForce’s next generation. @TeamMisawa https://t.co/7NmxHqOJGe https://t.co/vVoVVnjEgf
Riveting story! Learn more about Ms. Mae Krier, a #WorldWarII pioneer who joined legions of other Rosies in the wor… https://t.co/0QUBOzh4Rr
RT @HollomanAFB: Happy #NationalPuppyDay! Our #MilitaryWorkingDogs protect and defend us each and everyday. Check out these #adorable photo…
RT @AirForceMag: HIT THE BOOKS: Check out a non-exhaustive list of Air Force Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein's reading recommendations from…
Some of us are women, but we are all Airmen! #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/pcBtWWIiE6
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "Celebration of #diversity and making sure we understand the flesh colored band aids is not abou… https://t.co/iUqNbSpCPB
.@RAFMildenhall #KC135 crew strengthened relationship with Romanian #AirForce through air refueling training. For m… https://t.co/8dGvm2HQwC
RT @SecAFOfficial: Mother nature can’t beat the 55th Wing! We will recover @Offutt_AFB from the devastating flood. Amazing American 🇺🇸 spir…
Today the #AirForce announced a new Infrastructure Investment Strategy following a yearlong review that brings a ne… https://t.co/i1yDRQkaPl