This post has been updated.
The U.S. Air Force just found out that an F-22 Raptor unit can fire off far more air-to-air missiles than ever before.
Teams from the 94th Fighter Squadron and 94th Fighter Generation Squadrons were able to load and fire a record-breaking 28 missiles across an F-22 unit during a weapons test in September, Air Combat Command announced in a recent statement.
“At Weapons System Evaluation Program 22.12, the 94th FS and 94th FGS loaded and employed 28 air-to-air missiles, which represents the most missiles loaded and employed by an F-22 unit, during the two-week long exercise,” Tech Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley, a 1st Fighter Wing spokesperson, told Task & Purpose. “All missiles were fired at aerial targets being flown by drones and the total value of all 28 missiles is approximately $14 million. As a cohesive team, the units flew more than 96 sorties.”
Those 28 missiles are nearly a third more than the previous record of 22 air-to-air missiles fired from an F-22 unit, set in 2014 by a team from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
“It basically tells big Air Force that our unit is prepared to deploy and if they did deploy us, how well we would perform compared to other squadrons,” Staff Sgt. Edgar Baez-Lopez, 94th FGS aircraft armament systems craftsman with the 94th Fighter Generation Squadron said after the successful weapons system evaluation program at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
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The 94th FS and 94th FGS, part of the 1st FW based out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, took part in the two-week weapons test meant to see how squadrons prepare and field fighter jets for air-to-air combat. It featured live fire, not just with missiles but with the F-22 Raptor’s Gatling guns.
According to the Air Force, each F-22 Raptor aircraft can can eight missiles when sent for air-to-air missions, six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.
“As the 1st Fighter Wing, we’re already held to those high standards, but even for us, 28 air-to-air missiles is unheard of, and it’s record-setting for a reason,” Baez-Lopez added.
It’s not clear what the exact missile loadout for these F-22 aircraft looked like.
The two-week test also featured several restrictions, with teams having less stealth fighters to work with and smaller crews on the scene. Senior Master Sgt. Jared Robinson with the 94th FGS credited the success due to a strong rapport between operation crews and maintenance teams. The added pressure of live rounds during the test gave crews more urgency as well.
Correction, 10/17/2022: This article originally stated that a single F-22 Raptor fired 28 air-to-air missiles, rather than an F-22 unit. This article has since been corrected. We regret the error.
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