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ISIL Syrian Airstrikes - F-22 sees first action?

bobbymike

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Airstrikes Begin Against ISIS in Syria

9/23/2014

US aircraft—reportedly including Air Force F-22s in their combat debut—and cruise missiles, along with partner-nation airplanes, commenced strikes on ISIS targets in Syria on Monday. "I can confirm that US military and partner-nation forces are undertaking military action against [ISIS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber, and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby in a statement. This marks the first airstrikes against ISIS forces inside of Syria since President Obama earlier this month announced the US strategy to destroy the terrorist army. "The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the US Central Command commander under authorization granted him by [Obama]. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate," added Kirby. Associated Press reported that aircraft from Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes with the US assets. ABC News reported that F-22s were part of the air armada. If accurate, this would be the stealth aircraft's first use in combat. US aircraft have been bombing ISIS inside of Iraq since August. (Kirby's Twitter feed)

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140922/NEWS05/309220056/U-S-beigns-airstrikes-Islamic-State-targets-Syria?sf31461955=1
 

ISP

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The second wave consisted of F-22 Raptors in their first combat role, F-15 Strike Eagles, F-16s, B-1 bombers and drones that launched from bases in the region around 9:00 p.m. Eastern time against targets in northern Syria, the general said.
(...)
Another photograph showed an intact ISIL command-and-control building in Raqqah that was targeted by U.S. Air Force F-22s during the second wave of strikes.

“This strike was the first time the F-22 was used in a combat role. The flight … delivered GPS-guided munitions, precision munitions, targeting only the right side of the building. You can see … that the command-and-control center where it was located in the building was destroyed,” Mayville said.
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123241
 

bobbymike

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XP67_Moonbat said:
About frakkin time! B)

And most interesting is that it was air to ground strikes for the most lethal air to air fighter ever built. :eek:
 

Dreamfighter

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Seen lots of negative comments (of course mostly on Av. Week again) about the 22's first use being for an AGM-mission; it's regarded a waste of money because the jet was originally designed for air-superiority/dominance.
Before, the negative comments were usually about the jet never being used in a real combat situation (Libya springs to mind). ::)


Personal thoughts;
Though IS(IS) has no airforce, they might have captured some capable SAM-systems, what might be a reason for the USAF to use a few 22s to take those out, amongst other things.
Maybe not being all too sure about how exactly Assad's airforce will respond to foreign fighters in Syrian airspace, could also be a reason (especially since Israel downed a Syrian jet over Golan yesterday). And the 15s and 16s are wearing out more and more, so maybe they want a few 22s to get hours instead, and meanwhile test the Raptor in a real combat condition.
 

sferrin

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Dreamfighter said:
Seen lots of negative comments (of course mostly on Av. Week again) about the 22's first use being for an AGM-mission; it's regarded a waste of money because the jet was originally designed for air-superiority/dominance.
Before, the negative comments were usually about the jet never being used in a real combat situation (Libya springs to mind). ::)
Haters gonna hate. That about sums up AvWeek/Ares these days. If it wasn't dropping bombs they'd be crying about it not being used. Nevermind that when (not if) we get involved in a serious war sometime in the next two or three decades they'll be damn glad that F-22 is around, and wishing we'd bought more. (Though I doubt any of them have the integrity to admit it.)

edit: It's amusing that this same club was praising the debut of the Typhoon and Rafale over Libya (though I don't recall either shooting down any aircraft).
 

bobbymike

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http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/f-22-raptor-combat-debut-over-syria-underscores-need-for-cheaper-more-versatile-f-35/
 

Talon_38C

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>>"Seen lots of negative comments (of course mostly on Av. Week again) about the 22's first use being for an AGM-mission; it's regarded a waste of money because the jet was originally designed for air-superiority/dominance."

I think of it as training. ;D
 

phrenzy

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Anyone know if there's some concern of flying the F-22 near the more modern Syrian sensor systems and potentially getting a useful signature?
 

sferrin

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phrenzy said:
Anyone know if there's some concern of flying the F-22 near the more modern Syrian sensor systems and potentially getting a useful signature?

As opposed to flying intercepts on Bear bombers?
 

TomS

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Steve Pace said:
I bet the F-22s flew CAP just in case. -SP

The DoD Press release says specifically that the F-22s delivered "GPS-guided weapons," presumably either JDAM or SDB. (I'd guess SDB based on the released video.) I'm sure they were also carrying a couple of AMRAAM for self-defense, but it's also clear that with the Syrian government pre-warned, no one local was dumb enough to be flying when the US strikes went in.
 

Triton

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"Was that a Lackluster F-22 Debut?"
Sep 24, 2014 by Amy Butler in Ares

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/was-lackluster-f-22-debut

The F-22’s combat debut –- the twin-engine stealth fighter was used in anger against Islamic State (IS) extremists gaining footholds in Syria and Iraq early Sept. 23 in a wave of air strikes -– was not the dazzle many had expected. After years of hearing the refrain of the F-22’s purpose to “kick down the door” (thank you Gen. John Jumper, former USAF chief of staff) of air defenses, clearing the way for other assets to do business in an air battle, many probably expected the F-22’s debut to be just that.

This refrain was drilled into staffers’ (and reporters’) heads on Capitol Hill as the Air Force fought to keep the program alive for years. And, for its high cost -– some estimate it is a $66 billion program -- let’s face it: many of us hoped for a debut that would draw on its sexy stealth capabilities or rumored dazzling electronic warfare (EW) prowess.

But, the Raptor’s first recorded kill was not emblemized by a photo of a smoldering MiG shot down in the dark of night. Rather, the Pentagon showed us a hole in the top of a building that defense officials said was a command and control center for forces in Raqqah, IS’s self-declared capital. A defense official now confirms that the F-22 used in this historic strike employed a GBU-32, a 1,000 lb. Joint Direct Attack Munition.

Before and after F-22 strike, US Defense Dept.

The use of the F-22 nine years after it was declared operational raises an interesting question. Why now? We at Aviation Week won’t be the first or the only ones to opine on this subject. But, I wanted to get the talk started with our readers.

The air campaign that began this week over Syria was carried out in what Lt. Gen. William Mayville, director of operations for the Joint Staff described as “passive” air defenses.

Syria, however, is purported to possess decent air defenses –- some possibly integrated. And, we’ve not heard anything about Syrian air countering coalition assets. Arguably, this is a unique diplomatic backdrop for the debut of an asset designed at great cost to sneak in and out of air defenses and defeat any fighter that takes it on in the skies. The U.S. informed the Syrian government the strikes were coming by direct communication and there was no secret what was going to happen if you saw the news in the last few weeks. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is annoyed by IS, and we are providing a good pest control service. So, it is unlikely Syrian forces were going to engage coalition assets unless we went after certain national assets in Syria. Even then, it would be a gesture at best.

So, I wonder why was the F-22 used? Any number of assets can drop a 1,000 lb. Jdam, especially when the door that would need kicking down is wide open or, at the very least, slightly ajar. Did the aircraft’s sensors have some sort of classified effect? Was there an EW capability that, perhaps, we’ll find out about in months? Did someone in the chain of command just decide it was time to get the damn thing into the fight?

In the briefing, the closest explanation we got was from Mayville. “What we were looking at was the effects we wanted to see on the target areas and what platforms in the region would be best suited to do that,” he said during a Sept. 23 briefing. “We had a large menu of targets to strike from, and then we chose from there. 
So, it's less the platform than it is the effects we seek, and then it's what platform can deliver those effects. That's really the job of the [combined air operations center].”

We know the cause … I’m wondering what was the effect.
 

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Triton

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"F-22s Used In Syria Strikes; Right Force, Right Time, Say Analysts"
by Colin Clark on September 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2014/09/f-22s-used-in-syria-strikes-right-force-right-time-say-analysts/

WASHINGTON: While we don’t yet have much detail on how many were used, what munitions were used or what targets they hit, F-22s were used in last night’s air strikes in Syria against ISIL and al Qaeda.

F-22s flew in the second of three waves of attacks launched against ISIL targets in Syria, Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville, the Joint Director of Operations, told reporters during a briefing on last night’s air strikes.

The F-22 Raptors were mostly present to protect other aircraft from both surface-to-air missiles and from the fighter jets of Syria and Iran, said Robbin Laird, a defense consultant here known for his in-depth knowledge of the F-22.

For the Air Force, this is a talismanic moment. The F-22 is widely considered the world’s ultimate fighter with its supercruise capability, stealth and superior maneuverability. But it has, until last night, not been used in combat operations, leading to mocking comments directed at the expensive aircraft, which former Defense Secretary Robert Gates capped at 187 planes. That drought has ended, and with good reason, say two of America’s most highly regarded experts on air warfare.

“Effective planning requires the use of the right force at the right place at the right time,” Dave Deptula, the man who ran the air war in Afghanistan, says in an email. “The F-22 is the world’s most advanced combat aircraft and has the ability to negate the effectiveness of threat air defense systems. That’s why it was used in this case. There was no ‘dry spell’; rather, the previous operations in the permissive airspace of Iraq and Afghanistan did not require their capabilities.”

Deptula was joined by Mark Gunzinger of the Center For Strategic and Budgetary Assessment in his assessment this was the right mission.

“They are the most capable operational fifth gen combat aircraft in the world. F-22s are exactly the kind of capability a combatant commander would ask for if precision strikes are needed on targets in areas where hostile air defenses are present,” he writes. “The alternative to using highly survivable stealth aircraft would be to first conduct a campaign to suppress those threats. Such an operation in Syria would have significant policy implications, of course.”

Syria owns and uses advanced Russian air defenses, though not their most advanced.
 

marauder2048

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TomS said:
Steve Pace said:
I bet the F-22s flew CAP just in case. -SP

The DoD Press release says specifically that the F-22s delivered "GPS-guided weapons," presumably either JDAM or SDB. (I'd guess SDB based on the released video.) I'm sure they were also carrying a couple of AMRAAM for self-defense, but it's also clear that with the Syrian government pre-warned, no one local was dumb enough to be flying when the US strikes went in.

Which when combined with the Israeli SAM batteries on hair trigger alert (Patriot recently downed a Syrian "Fencer") may greatly inhibit Syrian air operations in general.
 

Triton

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Maybe what is more important is the F-22s deterrent effect, it wins the battle before any shot is fired. Would an Iranian F-4 have challenged a F-18?

"Welsh: F-22 Flew to Drone's Rescue off Iran Coast"

Military.com Sep 17, 2013 | by Matthew Cox

Source:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/09/17/welsh-f22-flew-to-drones-rescue-off-iran-coast.html?ESRC=airforce-a.nl


Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on Tuesday sketched out a dramatic tale of a lone F-22 Raptor chasing off Iranian fighter jets over the Arabian Gulf.

The confrontation is the first publicized engagement involving the Air Force's most modern fighter and military forces of Iran.

"When the combatant commander wants air power there is only one number to call," said Welsh, praising Lt. Col. Kevin "Showtime" Sutterfield.

"Showtime is an Air Force Reservist … he flies the F-22. He flies it really well," Welso said.

In March, an Iranian F-4 flew within 16 miles of an MQ-1 Predator flying off the coast of Iran until a previously undisclosed aircraft escorted the Predator to safety. It turns out that aircraft was an F-22, the Air Force's fifth generation fighter.

"Did you guys see the news clip not long ago about the Iranian F-4s that intercepted a remotely-piloted aircraft out over the Arabian Gulf, and then they were warned off?"

Welsh then displayed a picture of Sutterfield before a large audience of his fellow service members at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition on Tuesday.

"This is the guy that warned them off," he said. "He flew under their aircraft to check out their weapons load without them knowing that he was there, and then pulled up on their left wing and then called them and said ‘you really ought to go home.'"

The successful performance of the F-22 comes after the Air Force was forced to repeatedly halt F-22 flights because F-22 pilots repeatedly reported blacking out from problems breathing.

The problem has been a challenge for the Air Force but not one that prevented the service from deploying an F-22 squadron in April of last year to the United Arab Emirates' Al Dafra Air Base, an installation located about 200 miles from the Iranian coast.

Air Force officials have not confirmed the exact location of the F-22s but have instead said they are located at a base in Southwest Asia -- a region that includes the UAE. Last year, Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. John Dorrian stressed that the F-22s were simply taking part in a scheduled deployment and were "not a threat to Iran."

Sutterfield's intercept of the Iranian jets was just one of many stories Welsh told of the courage, expertise and commitment Air Force personnel have shown over the last decade of conflict.

"I'll never worry; not while these guys are on our team," Welsh said. "I'm excited about the future. We've got some things to figure out, and we will figure them out."
 
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