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    90th Fighter Squadron first combat-operational F-22 Raptor unit to use AIM-9X advanced Sidewinder

    90th Fighter Squadron first combat-operational F-22 Raptor unit to use AIM-9X advanced Sidewinder

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Kyle Johnson | Senior Airman Dominic Hobbs, a 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, UNITED STATES

    03.02.2016

    Story by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson 

    Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs   

    JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's 90th Fighter Squadron officially became the first combat-operational F-22 Raptor unit to equip an F-22 with an Air Intercept Missile-9X, March 1.

    The increased lethality of the AIM-9X coupled with the F-22's capabilities combine into a much more effective fighting unit, said Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Jenkins, 3rd Wing Weapons Manager.

    "This has been in the inventory for the Air Force and Navy for some years; it's nothing new to the military," Jenkins said. "But to put it on the Ferrari of aircraft - the F-22, the most advanced aircraft we have - it gives the pilots more maneuverability, larger range, and it's a much faster missile.

    "Giving that to a combat commander downrange really increases his capabilities."

    Air Force Lt. Col David Skalicky, commander of the 90th Fighter Squadron said the AIM-9X worked flawlessly in its first flight today.

    "Every aspect about this missile, it's a huge capability increase in all facets," Skalicky said. "We can employ it in more scenarios, at greater range, and reach edges of the envelope we would have had a more difficult time reaching with the AIM-9M.

    "Similar to how the F-22 is a generation beyond the fighters that came before it, the 9X is a generation beyond the previous Sidewinder missiles we used before. It's a huge advance in lethality for the F-22."

    Path to the flightline

    With the support of the 673rd Logistics Readiness Squadron and Communication Squadron, 3rd Munitions, 3rd Maintenance, and 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, weapons Airmen created a multi-organizational hub from which Airmen from the 525th and 90th Aircraft Maintenance Units alike came together to finish the parts needed to adapt the AIM-9X to the F-22 ahead of schedule, Jenkins said.

    "We sent a small team to Nellis [Air Force Base] to get a small taste of what's coming," Jenkins said. "We brought that knowledge back and staged that team in a consolidated area. We gained proficiency by doing that. Nellis let us borrow two of their [parts] and we started last week getting these load crews through our weapons standardization - and we've got 10 load crews out of our 28 right now already done within a week."

    After the load crews are certified to load AIM-9Xs onto F-22s, they have to maintain their certification on a monthly basis, Jenkins said.

    Behind the weapons crews, Jenkins listed off nearly a dozen supporting agencies who provided crucial support to the mission.

    "3rd Maintenance Squadron's Low Observable Flight was critical in making the timeline for the internal structure modification inside these launchers," Jenkins said. "Precision-guided munitions section were tasked with a software upgrade on this that come down about two weeks ago, and they had to work through some serious speed bumps to get this done, last Friday in order to get this loaded for today.

    "There's a big bubble of people, no single person made this happen."

    The arrival of the AIM-9X to the F-22 very well may signal a new era in Air Force airpower.

    "This missile makes the most lethal combat aircraft the world has ever seen even more capable. It's a giant enhancement to the already formidable F-22 arsenal," Skalicky said. "We've invested a lot of resources getting this missile to the combat Air Force, and now it's finally here."

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.02.2016
    Date Posted: 03.03.2016 12:02
    Story ID: 190982
    Location: JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, US 

    Web Views: 4,566
    Downloads: 1
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