Raptors take out aerial targets in milestone missile tests

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Unread post06 May 2017, 02:49

http://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article/ ... ile-tests/

Raptors take out aerial targets in milestone missile tests

By 412th Test Wing Public Affairs and 53rd Wing Public Affairs
Published May 04, 2017

F-22 Raptors from the 411th Flight Test Squadron completed developmental tests of air-to-air missiles against an aerial target April 18 at the Utah Test and Training Range as part of a major capability upgrade. The Raptors launched inert AIM-9 and AIM-120 missiles against multiple BQM-167A sub-scale aerial targets, marking a significant effort along the 3.2B developmental test and evaluation upgrade timeline. “The shots at UTRR were the graduation live fire event of a two-year long 3.2B upgrade,” said Lt. Col. Randel Gordon, 411th FLTS commander. “The achievement of those shots is a huge technical accomplishment for the 412th Test Wing and 411th FLTS.” The 3.2B modernization update to the F-22 is the fighter jet’s biggest capability upgrade since reaching Initial Operating Capability in December 2005, according to the testers. Once fielded, it will add capability boosts to U.S. Air Force air superiority and further support coalition efforts overseas.

Gordon praised the coordination with the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which deployed from the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida to provide the flying targets in the missile tests. The BQM-167A is a high-performance, remotely-controlled subscale aerial target used to provide a threat-representative target drone to support the Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program and other Air Force and Department of Defense air-to-air test and evaluation programs. "We deployed a group of 15 active duty members, government civilians and contractors to launch, fly and recover up to eight BQM-167A targets over three days,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, 82nd ATRS commander. "Because we are the only Air Force unit with the aerial target mission, we take our responsibility for developmental and operational flight testers very seriously, including deployments to meet them on their local ranges.”
Gordon added that live-fire missile shot events at the 411th FLTS are named after 1980s’ movie action stars as an informal way to keep track of the test milestones. Because of the importance of this past test, the event was named after “the biggest action star of the 80s.” “We saved the best for last. This was the Chuck Norris shot,” said Gordon. “It was really a technically challenging shot and a graduation shot following two years of hard work. I’m deeply proud of those people in my squadron who made this happen.”

-Increment 2, the first F-22 upgrade program, was implemented in 2005 and enables the aircraft to employ Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM).

-Increment 3.1 provides improved ground-attack capability through synthetic aperture radar mapping and radio emitter direction finding, electronic attack and the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB); testing began in 2009 and the first upgraded aircraft was delivered in 2012.[81][82]

-Increment 3.2 is a two-part upgrade process;
--3.2A focuses on electronic warfare, communications and identification, while
--3.2B will allow the F-22 to fully exploit the AIM-9X and AIM-120D missiles.[83][84]

-..Increment 3.3 may include the adoption of an open avionics platform and air traffic control updates.[76][85]

Upgrades due in 2015 will allow the F-22 to employ the AIM-9X and have full Link 16 reception and transmission capability, and an upgrade scheduled in 2018 will integrate the AIM-120D into the weapons suite.[86]

The F-22 fleet is planned to have 36 Block 20 training and 149 Block 30/35 combat aircraft by 2016.

The Increment 3.2B upgrade planned for 2018 will include a new stores management system to show the correct symbols for the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120D AMRAAM and improved control of them..

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