I'm not an Expert or Specialist in any aircraft related industries, this is just my $0.02.
I have worked for and with the US Military, I've held an NDA-Confidental Clearance Waiver and have participated in certain job related Anti-Terrorism
and OPSEC/PERSEC training courses.
In regards to OP's sighting, the description sounds indefinitely like fuel pods on the hardpoints.
As far as speculation and sharing of Open Source information being a violation of OPSEC...hardly.
With the F-22's flying low and slow enough for an untrained ground spotter to determine not only the aircraft type, but what was being carried on the
hardpoints as "torpedo" looking rather than just dark blobs is a testament that it was routine.
Running with an external load, the F-22's would have a much larger radar cross-section, thus showing up on other aircraft radar and civilian ATC. I
would also assume the military would have the F-22 operating in an SUA if it wasn't going to show up on radar to prevent any mid-air collisions.
Chance are with the altitude they were operating at (based upon OP's description) a NOTAMs would have been issued.
Even if OP hadn't posted and no one here spoke a word of the 3 F-22's, it's not hard to use certain websites to determine military flights in certain
(That I will not go into detail about because it certainly could be an OPSEC violation or could cause security related issues)
As far as information from ATS giving an enemy any form of upperhand, that's a bit much.
All the specs in the F-22 a Open Source, Public information. Information on overflights of someone's home or commute route is not only dated, but most
likely routine in nature.
Even if in some bizarre twist an enemy managed to somehow obtain sensitive information involving aircraft from ATS, the information being shared
certainly wouldn't be overly sensitive. It's not as if someone is naming names or tossing around future deployment dates.
The absolute worst that could happen if any sensitive information was leaked via ATS would be an aggressor obtaining information that could aid in
defeating the F-22 or assisting in the development of a counter-part.
Since the information being shared in not only speculative, but also publicly available I wouldn't say it's violating OPSEC.
I'd be more worried about the software aspect of the aircraft. You have to not only assume, but would almost certainly expect China, Russia, ect...
constantly be bucking at our cyber security to get intel on not only the F-22, but anything defense related.
The best a Foreign Aggressor or Terror Cell could how to obtain from ATS is to garner an idea of how little we know in terms of secrets and sensitive
edit on 8-7-2012 by Weps21 because: (no reason given)