Why this photo of an F-22 Raptor stealth jet taking off for a night air strike in Syria is interesting

Here is an interesting photograph shot on the night of Sept. 23, when the U.S. fifth generation fighter plane had its baptism of fire.

The image in this post is interesting for several reasons.

First of all, it shows a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth jet with the 1st Fighter Wing taking off to take part in the U.S. and allied offensive against ISIS in Syria on the night of Sept. 23, when the U.S. Air Force 5th generation fighter plane had its baptism of fire.

Then, in spite of the low quality, the shot is worth a mention as it is one of the very few images you will find on the Internet showing an F-22 at night partly lit up by the green formation lights. In fact, although it may sound weird, there are not so many shots of depicting the Raptor after night. You can find more F-35 after-dark photographs than F-22 ones.

So, enjoy a barely visible Raptor (and notice the stealth plane’s formation lights switched on) as it departs from Al Dhafra for a strike mission in Syria.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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.


  1. It’s strange that I can’t see any heat signature of afterburner in the rear , that is unbelievable

  2. Are you trolling? If not I suggest doing some research on that roots of that phrase and how many centuries it goes back…..

    Somrtimes you can read things WITHOUT commenting ya know?

      • It’s just a common figure of speech in English. Baptism is used in the metaphorical sense, as in a rite of initiation. Fire refers to battle. Initiation by battle.

        I presume you’re not a native English speaker, even though you seem to speak it well now.

  3. The more I think about it the more I think the publicity of this mission is less about the F-22 dropping bombs and more about telling Syria, “you want to keep your air defenses turned off”.

  4. Also interesting, no external tanks other payload, all internal (looks like front landing gear is going up in this photo).

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