The Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet this week saw its first combat action nearly nine years after initial operational capability was declared.
The Defense Department said Sept. 23 the F-22 deployed Global Positioning System- (GPS) guided munitions during Monday strikes against the terrorist group known as ISIL in Syria. The F-22 is capable of carrying two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) from internal weapons bays in its air-to-ground configuration, according to an Air Force fact sheet.
DoD spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith Tuesday declined to say which weapons were deployed from the F-22 during strikes. JDAM is developed by Boeing [BA].
DoD Director of Operations (J-3) Army Lt. Gen William Mayville said Tuesday in a briefing that the Syria attacks came in three waves. First wave included Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) launched from the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) in the Red Sea and the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) in the northern Persian Gulf into northern and eastern Syria. Smith said 47 total Tomahawks were used along with around 200 total munitions from all aircraft. Raytheon [RTN] develops the Tomahawk.
Mayville said the second wave of strikes came from F-22, F-15E, F-16, B-1 and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) against targets in northern Syria, including ISIL headquarters, training camps, barracks and combat vehicles. The third and final wave consisted of F/A-18s from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) in the northern Persian Gulf and regionally-based United States F-16s attacking targets in eastern Syria, Mayville said. Ninety-six percent of all delivered munitions were precision-guided, Mayville said.
The F-22 has a significant capability to attack surface targets, using on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support. In the future, air-to-ground capability will be enhanced with the addition of an upgraded radar and up to eight Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). The F-22 will also carry two AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and two AIM-9 Sidewinders in the air-to-ground configuration. The AMRAAM, Sidewinder and SDB are developed by Raytheon.
The Air Force has 183 F-22s in its inventory at a unit cost of $143 million each. The F-22 is developed by Lockheed Martin [LMT].