by Maj. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs
8/24/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska -- During
a recent Unit Training Assembly weekend Alaska Reserve pilots from the
302nd Fighter Squadron dropped Joint Direct Attack Munitions from F-22s
equipped with increment 3.2A, a software upgrade package.
"Performing this mission on a UTA is critical to readiness because it
allows our unit to practice actual weapons build, loading, pre-flight,
and employment," said Col. David Piffarerio, 477th Fighter Group
commander. "In addition, this validates the maintainers, aircraft and
pilots are ready to employ downrange with the new increment 3.2A
The 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, based out of Nellis AFB, Nev.,
validated the software upgrades, which add electronic protection against
jamming, better Link 16 receive capability and combat identification
among other improvements, before it was added to the operational F-22s.
Dropping air to ground ordinance is not only good training for the
pilots but also for active duty and Reserve Airmen from the 3rd and
477th Munitions flights, who build the bombs, and the 477th Aircraft
Maintenance Squadron, who load the bombs on the jets allowing for the
entire Arctic Warrior team to receive valuable training.
"This training is important because it provides our traditional
Reservists with the opportunity to perform their respective functions in
a realistic environment," said Master Sgt. Timothy Tuttle, 477th AMXS,
Weapons Section Flight chief. "It is especially valuable training for
weapons loaders to load munitions in a setting other than the Weapons
Load Training facility. There is always a sense of pride when you are
able to load munitions onto an aircraft and the aircraft returns home
having expended its weapons, because you know that you performed your
job correctly and directly impacted the mission."
During the UTA the Reserve pilots successfully dropped all seven JDAMs
over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, a 2,490 square mile range
equipped with live emitters and targets which create a realistic
"Every operations and maintenance Airman is critical to this mission,"
said Piffarerio. "Our cadre of experienced F-22 pilots validated this
new capability and in turn passed along lessons learned to our active
duty counterparts. The 3rd Wing and 477th FG are integrated in every
aspect of F-22 operations and maintenance and is critical to our combat