F-22s returned home from their first ever deployment in Qatar. And here are some interesting images.
Twelve U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors that had deployed to the Middle East at the end of June 2019 made their way home at the beginning of February. Flying as TREND 71, 81 and 91, the stealth jets arrived at Moron Air Base, Spain, from Al Udeid, Qatar, on Feb 4, 2020.
The aircraft had started moving to the Middle East on Jun. 27, 2019, when the first nine of 12 F-22 Raptors belonging to the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard, both from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, deployed to the AFCENT AOR (Area Of Responsibility), supported by at least four KC-10 (GOLD 51, 52, 61, 62) and 1 KC-135 (using callsign GOLD 54). The Raptor force responded to a short-notice deployment by dispatching the stealth aircraft for the first time to Al Udeid, Qatar (in fact, the F-22s had previously deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE) “to defend American forces and interests in the region.”
The airframes deployed were: 04-4067 FF, 04-4082 FF, 08-4163 FF, 08-4165 FF, 09-4173 FF, 09-4174 FF, 05-4089 TY, 05-4100 TY, 08-4157 FF, 08-4157 FF, 09-4189 FF, 10-4192 FF.
The aircraft were originally scheduled to return to Langley earlier but their actual trip back home was postponed amid growing regional tensions.
Interestingly, the F-22s were spotted as they overflew Israel on their way to the stopover in Spain.
#BLUE31 84-0186 KC-10 Extender with 6 F22s (only 3 visible)
These are the best military pictures I ever taken. Thanks to @Gerjon_ #airrefueling #milair #avgeek #f22 #raptor #f22raptor pic.twitter.com/5qaJI5kfYK
— Jordan (@ace_pio) February 4, 2020
The Raptor were then photographed landing and then departing again from Moron Spain, to the CONUS, by photographer David Parody.