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

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 28, 2016. The 90th Fighter Squadron deployed personnel, cargo and several F-22 Raptors to Southeast Asia this month to support United States Air Forces Central Command operations. AFCENT’s mission is to deliver decisive air, space, and cyberspace capabilities for United States Central Command in concert with coalition, joint, and interagency partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena/Released)

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

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.