Photographer captures six F-22 Raptor fighter jets trailing three tankers over the Mediterranean Sea

Stealth planes might be invisible to radars but they can do nothing against human eye, especially when they are contrailing.

Taken by Gian Luca Onnis, a (lucky) photographer and aviation enthusiast, on Jan. 25, 2013, the photographs in this post show a flight of six F-22 Raptors trailing two KC-135 and a KC-10 tankers overflying Sardinia island, Italy, on their way back to the U.S.

The radar evading planes, returning to Holloman, New Mexico, from a deployment in South East Asia, were clearly visible because of the long white contrails they left over the Mediterranean Sea.

The six F-22 Raptors had deployed to Al Dhafra in the UAE via Moron, Spain, on Apr. 20, 2012.

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Whereas the six stealthy planes of the 49th Fighter Wing returned to the CONUS (Continental U.S.) six F-22 belonging to the 3rd Fighter Wing, were flying in the opposite direction (via Lajes, Azores) to replace them in the Persian Gulf area.

Noteworthy, unlike the Holloman’s F-22As the 3rd FW’s Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Alaska, are Block 3.1 planes capable to find and engage ground targets using the Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping and drop up to eight GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) in the air-to-surface role.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.