Check out these amazing photos of F-22 Raptors departing Alaska to fight ISIL

Apr 15 2016 - 9 Comments

Alaskan Raptors depicted as they deploy to fight Daesh.

The following images show U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron taking off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on Mar. 28, 2016 to deploy to the UAE.

Supported by Air Mobility Command KC-10s tanker aircraft and accompanied by personnel and cargo  flew to Al Dhafra airbase to replace the Hawaiian Raptors returning home after their tour of duty in support of Operation Inherent Resolve within the United States Air Forces Central Command AOR (Area or Responsibility).

Noteworthy, the Raptor flies seldom in comparison to the rest of the manned and unmanned aircraft involved against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. According to the information released by AFCENT, the F-22 accounts for only 2% of the sorties and 2% of the overall weapons released.

Still, it looks like they are vital in the fight against ISIS: the Raptors leverage advanced onboard sensors, as the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, to gather valuable details about the enemy targets, then they share the “picture” with attack planes, command and control assets, as well as Airborne Early Warning aircraft, while escorting other manned or unmanned aircraft towards the targets.

“Kinetic situational awareness” as the missions that facilitated the retaliatory air strikes conducted by the Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s after the burning alive of the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh captured on Dec. 24, 2014.

Rarely they can also attack their own targets using Precision Guided Munitions: two 1,000-lb GBU-32 JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) or 8 GBU-39 small diameter bombs.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena/Released

  • MrSatyre

    “Kinetic situational awareness” Oh, brother!

  • Rav3n

    After all the years, still in love with that bird :)

  • Fritz Bernazzi

    Beautiful birds! I have been captivated by jets ever since I was a small child. I don’t think I could handle flying one though. If they are the eagles or falcons of the sky then I will be happy with the pigeons or tweety birds! I am taking flight training at FlyHaa. I love it more than I could ever have thought and hope others find the courage to do so as well! If you live in Oregon check out:

  • sferrin

    If they’re using the F-22 to fight ISIS that’s a colossal waste of precious F-22 airframe hours. I’d hope they’d be using them to keep an eye on the Russians.

    • vegass04 .

      You’re probably right. Raptors aren’t there to drop ordinance but to monitor Russian jet’s radar signature, flight characteristics and tactical deployment. Reaper can fire a missile, as effectively as Raptor (at least when it comes to goat herders)

  • Dan Roy

    Seems to me like they are putting a lot of flight hours on those limited number of airframes.

  • Cocidius

    The only reason Raptors would be going to fight ISIS is to deter and monitor the Russian fighters in the region. There is definitely more going on behind the scenes to warrant F-22’s being deployed in this manner.

  • FlyingBarrister

    An interesting article in The Hill regarding a study on whether to resume production of the F-22.

    • vegass04 .

      Unfortunately it will never happen. It would make no sense to pour that amount of money into basically a 1990-ties fighter jet. It would make sense to produce Raptors with F-35’s avionics and sensors but then Raptor would cost 300 million a pop, and that would draw money from the next gen air superiority fighter jets, a famous 6 gen (F-X).