The US Airforce has the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. It’s a fifth-generation aircraft that, to date, is considered the best stealth fighter in the world.
This variant laid the foundation for other similar aircraft to follow, with many firsts to its credit:
The F-22 was the first to introduce low radar visibility, super-cruise, super-maneuverability, and advanced sensor networks. The F-22 also had near-unrivaled dogfighting capacity, though it lacked the multi-role capabilities of the more recent fighter jets.
The last time this jet was in action was in Hawaii on June 13 this year responding to a Russian provocation just 300 miles off Waikiki Beach.
The F-22 Raptor is the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Significant advances in cockpit design and sensor fusion improve the pilot’s situational awareness. In the air-to-air configuration, the Raptor carries six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.
The F-22 brings stealth into the day, enabling it not only to protect itself but other assets. The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine.
The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as supercruise.
The aircraft designation was the F/A-22 for a short time before being renamed F-22A in December 2005.
U.S. military officials confirmed that the F-22’s scrambled Sunday, June 13 in response to Russian bombers moving close to American air space. Although Russian warplanes did not actually enter United States Air Space in Hawaii. The US jets later returned to base.
Initially, it was said that the military response was at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct an “irregular air patrol.”
On June 13, 2 Raptors were launched by the Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith to its subordinate command, Pacific Air Forces, 154th Fighter Wing, from Hickam on the island of Oahu at around 4:00 pm followed by a third Raptor about an hour later. It appears that a KC-135 Stratotanker – a refueling plane – was also used in the mission, pointing to the fact that an aircraft may have needed refueling assistance.
The issue, which no agency, airline, or military representative has explained in detail, was resolved and the 3 Raptors and the KC-125 Stratotanker returned back to Hickam Airforce base on the Island of Oahu.
When questioned, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor only stated, “We have a close working relationship with the military.” The Air Force has F-22s, pilots, maintainers, and weapons crews on call 24 hours a day at Hickam to respond to air threats to the Hawaiian islands as part of an air defense alert mission.
The truth came out days later when mysteriously major search engines deleted queries to articles covering this incident.
What really happened was that Russia had conducted the largest navy exercise in the Pacific Ocean since World War II – perhaps to open the floor for the Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva. The exercise was conducted only 300 to 500 miles from Hawaii’s sunny beaches.
A week earlier Russia scrambled a MiG-31 fighter jet to accompany a U.S. military plane over the Barents, RIA news agency reported citing a Russian navy statement.
The Russian military said the U.S. plane was identified as a P-8A Poseidon aircraft and the Russian fighter jet was returned to its base as soon as the U.S. plane made a U-turn and pulled away from the Russian border, according to RIA.
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia and divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters,
Back in 2017, the FAA requested a support flight from Hickam at which time 2 F-22s were sent up to escort an American Airlines flight from California because of a passenger trying to force his way to the front of the plane. The FBI took the passenger into custody upon landing.
The 154th Wing is part of the Hawaii Air National Guard but works actively with the Air Force and provides most of the islands’ security. It has F-22 pilots on call 24 hours a day at Hickam for rapid responses to potential threats to the Hawaiian islands.
Many military aviation units across the Pacific region have lately increased their training and operations tempo. The Air Force recently began spreading its planes around the Pacific with frequent flights to airstrips across distant islands.