Hawaiian F-22 Raptors deploying to UAE to join air war on ISIS

An F-22 Raptor taxies on the flight line at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 9, 2010. The 199th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard is transitioning from the F-16 and will serve as the only Air National Guard led joint Guard and Active Duty squadron in the Pacific and the second in the U.S. Air Force. The Raptor represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities for U.S. forces in the Pacific.

Six Hawaii Air National Guard are deploying to the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

Six Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptors are enroute from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, to Al Dhafra, UAE, to join the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

Once there, the aircraft will replace the U.S. Air Force Raptors already there for a 6-month rotational deployment that will see the aircraft take part in Operation Inherent Resolve in the airspaces of Iraq and Syria: although they can attack their own targets using Precision Guided Munitions (two 1,000-lb GBU-32 JDAMs or 8 GBU-39 small diameter bombs) while covering other aircraft in a typical swing role mission, the F-22 have proved to be useful in the air war against ISIS by making other aircraft more survivable, acting as electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich multi-role aircraft that provide “kinetic situational awareness” to other aircraft involved in the air strikes.

Who knows, maybe they will even come close to the Russian Su-30s and Su-34s involved in the raids against IS terrorists across Syria (or they will simply be spied by the Russian Il-20 Coot deployed there).

For the 199th Fighter Squadron this is the first combat tour of duty since the deployed to Saudi Arabia in 2000, to patrol the southern NFZ (No Fly Zone) of Iraq. At that time the squadron flew the F-15 Eagle; it transitioned to the F-22 Raptor in 2010, flying the 5th Generation stealth planes in partnership with the 19th Fighter Squadron.

On their way to the Middle East, the aircraft made a stopover in Moron, Spain, and Sigonella, Italy.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

About David Cenciotti 3861 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.