Air Weapons: August 2, 2005


For the first time in history, a JDAM (GPS guided bomb) was dropped from a warplane (an F-22) traveling a supersonic speed. The JDAM hit its target. The F-22 frequently travels at supersonic (over 1,100 kilometers an hour) speed because its engines were designed and built to provide this kind of  performance (called supercruise) . The bomb dropped was a 1,000 pound JDAM. Further tests will check out performance of 500 and 250 pound JDAMs. The latter weapon, called the SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) is particularly important, as it enables the F-22 to carry the maximum number of bombs (eight) in its internal bomb bay. The U.S. Air Force wants to capitalize on the supercruise capability of the F-22, and is also testing the use of electronic reconnaissance sensors at supercruise speeds. This would enable an F-22 to quickly check out an area for enemy electronic equipment, and just as quickly drop a JDAM on any enemy transmitters found below. Speed and surprise have always been valuable capabilities in warfare, and a supersonic F-22 overhead, able to pinpoint hostile radars or radio transmitters, and promptly bomb them, would be pretty decisive.


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