Tag Archives: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

This video lets you join F-22 pilots preparing for a night air strike on ISIS

Up close and personal with the Raptor pilots fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Filmed at Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE, this clip shows F-22 pilots with the 90th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, preparing to launch at night for a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in the modernized U.S. Air Force Raptor multirole jets.

Each Raptor mission against Daesh usually involves multiple aerial refueling operations since the aircraft, to keep their stealthiness, do not carry external fuel tanks.

The Alaskan Raptors belong to the latest available Block and can drop 8 GBU-39 small diameter bombs; they also embed a radar upgrade that enhanced the capabilities of the aircraft in the realm of the so-called “kinetic situational awareness”: although they drop very few bombs against ground targets, the 5th generation stealth planes exploit their advanced onboard sensors, such as the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, to gather details about the enemy targets that they share with other attack planes, such as the F-15E Strike Eagles.

Salva

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

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

These are probably the best F-22 Raptor air-to-air images we have ever seen!

Arctic Raptors provide Alaska Air Dominance.

The images in this post show F-22 Raptor stealth fighters belonging to the 90th FS “Pair-O-Dice,” the first F-22 squadron in Alaska, receiving its advanced aircraft in 2007.

Taken by aviation photographer John Dibbs, they were released by Lockheed Martin’s Code One magazine along with an interesting story about the Arctic Raptors based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Along with 90th and 525th FS, belonging to 3rd Wing, the 302nd FS is an Air Force Reserve Command’s associate unit that provides pilots and maintainers who fly and fix the aircraft alongside their active duty counterparts.

As the Code One article points out, not only do the pilots of the 302nd are on alert, ready to go at a moment’s notice, year-round, they are also the most experienced F-22 squadron in the USAF, with four of the eleven total Raptor pilots who have achieved the 1,000-hour milestone.

F-22 Code One 1

The Arctic Raptors “are nine hours or less flight time to almost any location in the northern hemisphere. Further, with the renewed Russian bomber activity over the last several years, the F-22s at Elmendorf are on alert twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”

Indeed, F-22s based in Alaska have often been scrambled to intercept Russian Tu-95s in the past months.

H/T Guillaume Steuer (@G_Steuer) for the heads-up

F-22 Code One 3

Image credit: John Dibbs / Code One

 

HH-60 Helicopter refuels from HC-130 in one of the most awesome aerial refueling photos ever!

Helicopter Air to Air Refueling as you’ve (probably) never seen it.

The image in this post was taken during a training Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling (HAAR) mission over Alaska.

It was taken from a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60 Pave Hawk as it refuels from a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130N.

Both aircraft belong to the 176th Wing (176 WG), a unit of the Alaska Air National Guard, stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Anchorage, Alaska, and they are tasked with combat search-and-rescue missions.

The point of view and the stunning background make the photo awesome. By the way,  this video provides another pretty unique point of view, whereas this one shows how difficult HAAR can really be (hence the need to practice a lot).

Image credit: MSgt Sean Mitchell via AFSOC FB page

 

F-22 Raptor stealth jets to get automatic backup oxygen systems to prevent new hypoxia-like symptoms

More than 24 months since the last hypoxia-like incident occurred, the U.S. Air Force has decided to equip its F-22s with a backup oxygen system.

The Raptor fleet will soon receive a brand new backup oxygen system as part of multiple contracts awarded to Lockheed Martin (worth 30 Million USD) DefenseNews reported.

F-22s belonging to the 3rd Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have already received the new system, that will be implemented by the rest of the radar-evading planes by the second quarter of year 2015.

Being automatic, the new system does not require pilot intervention; a big improvement from the previous one that had to be activated by the pilot, which might be quite difficult, if not impossible if the latter was experiencing hypoxia-like/oxygen deprivation symptoms.

Because of the mysterious problem that plagued the stealthy fleet to such an extent the radar-evading aircraft were grounded back in 2011 following a deadly incident involving an Alaska-based, the Pentagon initially grounded the F-22s, and then, after lifting the flight ban, it restricted Air Force Raptors to fly near a “proximate landing location” in order to give pilots the possibility to land quickly if their planes’ On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) fail.

In May 2012, two 1st Fighter Wing “whistleblowers” appeared on CBS 60 minutes to explain why they were “uncomfortable” flying the Raptor (before changing idea few days later).

The installation of the new automatic backup oxygen system is not the only upgrade the U.S. Raptors will get in 2015: according to DefenseNews, along with advanced electronic warfare protection and improved ground threat geolocation, F-22s should also get the ability to carry AIM-120D and AIM-9X advanced missiles.

In April 2013, the plan to integrate the Visionix Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS), that would have made the F-22 capable to use HOBS (High Off Boresight System) air-to-air missiles as the AIM-9X, filling a gap against other current and future stealth planes in close air combat, was cancelled following the cuts imposed by the sequestration.

Let’s see what happens this time.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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