Tanker problem forces US-bound F-22 Raptors to return to Germany

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly behind a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall Air Base, England Sept. 4, 2015, over the Baltic Sea. The U.S. Air Force has deployed four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, approximately 60 Airmen and associated equipment to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. While these aircraft and Airmen are in Europe, they will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

The four F-22 Raptor jets will spend one more day in Europe, as their flight back to the U.S. was halted by a tanker failure.

The four F-22s that had arrived in Germany on Aug. 28, for the very first Raptor’s deployment in Europe, were scheduled to leave for their homebase, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in the morning on Sept. 11.

However, the Raptor Package, departed from Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany, using radio callsign “Tabor 11,” was forced to return to “Spang” shortly after take-off as one of the supporting KC-135 tankers launched from RAF Mildenhall, UK, experienced a failure that prevented it from refueling the 5th Gen. jets.

The four stealth planes landed safely at Spangdahlem airbase but departed again in the afternoon for a short trip to RAF Mildenhall, where they have landed shortly before 15.30 GMT.

They will probably spend the night at “The Hall” before attempting again to cross the Pond on Sept. 12.


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.