The latest (software) upgrade (Block 3.1) has brought the capability to find and engage ground targets using the Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping and eight GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) to the troubled stealthy fighter that remained grounded for several months in 2011 following “hypoxia-like” symptoms experienced by Raptors pilots in 12 incidents since 2008.
Since the first modified planes were delivered to the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, those that took part to the Red Flag 12-3 at Nellis AFB, Nevada , belonging to the 27th FS from Langley AFB, Virginia, did not feature the Increment 3.1 and could only play the air-to-air role.
The following interesting HD video shows the 1st FW planes at work during the most recent Flag.
- Photo: MC-12W spyplane specialized in “find, fix, and finish” bad guys at its Red Flag debut (theaviationist.com)
- More than 70 combat planes involved twice a day in world’s most realistic training exercise: welcome to the Red Flag 12-3 (theaviationist.com)
- For the real aviation geek: F-22s, F-15s and B-2s filmed “in action” during Red Flag. From the ground. With audio. (theaviationist.com)