Munitions load crews at Langley AFB, Va., recently loaded the new GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb onto an operational F-22A Raptor—marking another first for the new stealth fighter. The fit test, conducted by members of the 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and observed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing contractors, as well as Air Force test officials from Edwards AFB, Calif., was the first time the weapon had been loaded into a combat-ready Raptor. The new weapon increases the target capabilities of the F-22 by 400 percent, since the fighter will carry eight SDBs instead of two JDAMS.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.