U.S. F-22 Stealth Jets Perform Raptor’s First Ever Air Strike In Afghanistan Employing Small Diameter Bombs

Nov 20 2017 - 21 Comments

U.S. F-22 Raptor Stealth Aircraft Carried Out First Raid In Afghanistan.

“Over the past 24 hours, U.S. and Afghan forces conducted combined operations to strike seven Taliban drug labs and one command-and-control node in northern Helmand province. Three of those strikes were in Kajaki district, four in Musa Qalah district and one in Sangin district,” says an official NATO press release.

The night air strikes targeted plantations of poppy (processed into illegal opiate drugs such as heroin) in Helmand Province: opiates have become a global health, economic and security problem, and the Taliban are responsible for up to 85 percent of the world’s opium production. “It’s estimated that more than $200 million of this economy goes straight into the Taliban’s bank accounts.”

Noteworthy, for the very first time, U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptors took part in the air strikes in Afghanistan “principally because of their ability to mitigate civilian casualties and inadvertent damage by employing small diameter bombs during U.S. airstrikes.” The F-22s, operated alongside B-52 bombers, Hellfire missiles fired from drones, and U.S. Marine Corps-operated High-Mobility Rocket Systems that were “pivotal in the first night of strike successes.”

The U.S. Air Force Raptor stealth multi-role jet had its baptism of fire flying Swing Role missions in support of the air war on ISIS on Sept. 23, 2014. Tasked for air-to-ground missions, the F-22 can carry two 1,000-lb GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, along with AIM-120s AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles) radar-guided missiles and AIM-9 Sidewinder IR-guided missiles.

Since software increment 3.1 embedded back in 2012, the F-22 can also drop 8 GBU-39 small diameter bombs, 250-lb multipurpose, insensitive, penetrating, blast-fragmentation warhead for stationary targets, equipped with deployable wings for extended standoff range. These bombs are particularly useful to improve accuracy and reduce collateral damage.

Along with the ability to carry PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), in the last few years the aircraft were also given a radar upgrade that enhanced the F-22 capabilities in the realm of air interdiction and the so-called “kinetic situational awareness”: as we have often explained in previous articles, the role that the Raptor plays in Operation Inherent Resolve is to use advanced onboard sensors, such as the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, to gather valuable details about the enemy targets, then share the “picture” with attack planes as the F-15E Strike Eagles.

Interestingly, in an interview given at the end of 2013, General Hawk Carlisle said 5th generation aircraft would provide forward target identification for strike missiles launched from a surface warship or submerged submarine, in the future. The PACAF commander described the ability of the F-22s, described as “electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich aircraft,” to provide forward targeting through their sensors for submarine based T-LAMS (cruise missiles).

The F-22s were supported by KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, also based at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, during their first action in Afghanistan in the night of Nov. 20.



  • Ilya Kurenkov

    Okay, so 5th gen air superiority fighter is no more than dropping bombs. Nice.

    • Uniform223

      I think I read sarcasm.

      If that is the case, here is my rebuttal…

      At Least our (United States) 5th gen aircraft are actually operable, deployable, and doing things that are news worthy. It also shows that these aircraft can do MORE than what they were originally designed to do. Russian media plays up the PAKFA when it gets a new paint job or flies really far.

      Come back with videos of your PAKFA doing weapons test and taking part in large scale international exercises or when your biggest (and only) economical partner in the program (India) isn’t complaining about a “half-ass” design and capability. Then MAYBE I’ll be impressed.

  • leroy

    F-22s used to take out drug labs? Isn’t that a bit of over-kill? No wonder our aircraft are getting worn out so quickly! As far as I’m concerned, capability like F-22 shouldn’t be wasted on low-end targets like this. We only have, what, 186 or so operational? At most send in F-16 or F/A-18. A-10. At most! No wonder the force is so overstressed.

    I wonder how many OV-10s could be pulled out of DM and upgraded? Put into action? This mission is right up their alley – with the proper munitions and targeting pods. OA-X won’t come soon enough. Probably take years.

    • Andrew Pearce

      What’s wrong with operational testing? Got to give those SDBs test runs and those fly boys operational hours

    • Don Julio

      It was not just “drug labs”. It was Daddy Bush CIA labs :)))

    • EinfachGut

      Might be for getting experience in different roles. Why “wasting” efforts in training ranges when you have the chance to combine a training with a real minnion.

  • dc

    And they look good taking on gas too!

  • Sean

    Couldn’t something much cheaper have done this job? Say, a surplus Skyraider? A $250 million dollar plane to drop small bombs on cavemen? What a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.

    • Don Bowler

      My thoughts EXACTLY

    • Andrew Pearce

      Operational testing

  • Jack___Hole

    Great practice for N. Korea.

  • craig bennett

    War in Afganistan……….pointless. Get us out of that country Mr. United States Military Industrial Complex. We are onto you now.

    • Andrew Pearce

      Obama pulled out… look what happened

  • Ara Rezaee

    Well we gotta use them somewhere…

  • vantguard

    With AIM 120 and AIM 9X ?
    Scared about Afghan Air Force?

  • I asked the same to myself. :D

  • Don1024

    A wee bit of overkill using the F-22 as a ground attack bomber don’t you think? An A-10 would do the job just as well and for a heck of a lot less in operating costs.

  • Don Julio

    Where else would they fly? Looks like in Syria F-22 pilots have problems because Su-35 and Su-30 :))))

    • Uniform223

      Lmao! Rofl!

      Stop! My sides are starting to hurt from all the laughing!