The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron and the active duty Air Force’s 19th Fighter Squadron team returned to Hawaii after participating in a Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies, and conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Range. It is one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the United States Air Force Warfare Center.
“The Raptor is a vital part in any theatre requiring air dominance and learning how to employ the F-22 to its full capabilities requires us to integrate with different airframes both within the US military and with our allies. This Red Flag offered the best opportunity for such training.” said Maj. Andrew Fessenden, F-22 Pilot with the HIANG 199th Fighter Squadron.
The exercise ran through February 1. Participation in the combat exercise followed the initial operational capability of the F-22’s that occurred in November 2012. Red Flag served as the Hawaii’s Raptor’s first over water deployment for the fifth generation fighter jet.
“The Hawaiian Raptors made a strong showing. The pilots employed at a high level but also learned a lot. Fighter integration allows pilots to exploit the full capability of the F-22 and many of us gained that experience for the first time,” said Fessenden.
In addition to the aerial maneuvers performed by pilots, the jets required detailed and thorough maintenance crews comprised of both National Guard and active duty airmen.
“Our maintenance personnel showed their strengths as a Total Force Integration team providing six aircraft each mission twice a day, often with a spare, with only eight aircraft available,” said Fessenden.
The F-22A Raptor is the Air Force’s primary air superiority fighter providing unmatched capabilities for air supremacy and homeland defense. Positioning F-22s in the Pacific strengthens military-to-military relationships, promotes regional security, improves combined tactical air operations competence, and enhances interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures.