Stephen Trimble at Flight Global:
Under review is a proposal to upgrade nearly half of the USAF’s fleet of 186 operational F-22s with a suite of advanced new weapons that have entered service during the last few years, plus advanced communications equipment that is still in development…Under the common configuration plan, the combat-coded F-22 fleet is separated into groups of 63 Block 30 and 87 Block 35 aircraft.
The Block 30s are being upgraded with Increment 3.1 capabilities, which include air-to-ground and electronic attack modes for the Northrop Grumman APG-77 radar.
Meanwhile, the Block 35s will also be modernised with the USAF’s most advanced air-to-air weapons – the Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder. The package, named Increment 3.2, also adds an automatic ground collision avoidance system and the multifunction advanced datalink. The latter will allow the F-22 to transmit data to other stealth aircraft.
USAF officials are now debating whether to upgrade the 63 Block 30 aircraft to the Block 35 standard. If the proposal is accepted, the USAF would operate a fleet of 150 F-22s with identical capabilities.
Check Flight Global for all the details.