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#926 2007-09-28 GMT-5 hours    
Raptor 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. The test marks the first airborne separation of a
small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22.
(Photo by
Darin Russell)

by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

9/26/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The F-22 Raptor Combined Test
Force conducted the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from
the internal weapons bay of an F-22 here Sept. 5.

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

The drop was made to ensure that the SDB would have a clean separation when
released from the Raptor.

"The test proved that our predictions were modeled properly," said Maj. Jack
Fischer, 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," he 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 Raptor's stealth
because external weapons could be picked up by radar, said Bill Kuhlemeier,
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

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 CTF's future flight test plans include expanding the Raptor'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."


This is the oldest I've ever been.

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Falcon Raptor


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#942 2007-09-29 GMT-5 hours    
Thanks for the information

Umar Abdul Kuddus
Falcon Raptor
New Zealand

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#952 2007-09-30 GMT-5 hours    
This seems like a logical step, given the F-117's looming retirement. Unless there is something we do not know about flying in Area 51.


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#2285 2008-03-19 GMT-5 hours    
This is awesome. As a Marine infantryman I can say if I call for CAS I would much rather it be a SDB than a 2000lb thing that I don't want dropped within a mile of my pos. kudos.

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