F-22 EMD aircraft #91-4008 drops an SDB during
a test mission in R2508 on 9/5/07.
Photo: USAF / Darin Russell
9/25/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- 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
Testing of the SDB with the F-22 is part of the
Increment 3.1 upgrade to the aircraft, Major Fischer
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
"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
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
"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
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."
Source: USAF Edwards AFB Press Release by Senior
Airman Jason Hernandez