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1st EMS troops build Joint Direct Attack Munitions for first deployment of Langley F/A-22s

October 28, 2005 (by AFPN) - When 1,000 pounds of steel and concrete fell a mile and smashed through the back of a truck, it ushered in a new era for the 1st Fighter Wing -- the return of air-to-ground combat. That mission ended in 1975 for the wing.

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Getting the Joint Direct Attack Munition ready for the mission was no easy task. It started a week before Langley's F/A-22 Raptors deployed to Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The 1st Equipment Maintenance Squadron deployed 10 ammunition troops to aid the 27th Fighter Squadron's deployment. The EMS members left earlier than the others with a mission to construct 1,000-pound, inert JDAMs that would be dropped by F/A-22 pilots.

"It's exactly what a lot of us have been waiting for," said Tech. Sgt. James Peddicord, the 1st EMS assistant noncommissioned officer in charge of munitions control. "The 1st FW is finally getting back into the air-to-ground stuff."

The 1,000-pound JDAM is not only new to the Raptor; it is new to the Air Force. The Navy's F/A-18 Hornet uses the weapon, but the Air Force has only used the 500- and 2,000-pound variants. The F/A-22 is the first Air Force aircraft to use the 1,000-pound model.

"The JDAM makes a hole so big it takes a week to fill it in," said Earl Peet from Eglin AFB Fla., JDAM Joint Program Office. Contractors with the Joint Program Office work with the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron to gather data on the behavior of the JDAM.

During the exercise, the JDAMs dropped by the 27th FS were filled with concrete rather than the usual 496 pounds of explosives. The concrete served two purposes on the bombing run: first, it made the bomb's weight the same as if it were loaded with explosives and second, it secured a data transmitter in the back of the weapon. The transmitter sent flight data to the contractors in the Joint Program Office who monitored the bomb's behavior during the drop. They use this information to configure the bomb to drop more accurately.

As the Joint Program Office learned more about the JDAM, so did the 1st EMS.

Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Corkren from the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, deployed to Hill AFB from Eglin AFB to oversee the GBU-32 JDAM project said the Langley Airmen impressed him.

"They're doing excellent in everything," he said. "There's a lot of sharp guys with them. They're transitioning from air-to-air to air-to-ground, so this is all somewhat new to them."

Staff Sgt. Charles Mohs, 1st EMS line deliverer, said seeing the F/A-22 successfully drop the JDAM was the icing on the cake.

"We pushed everything out, tested and put everything together," he said. "Seeing it drop completes the process."

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