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F-22 Raptor deployment to Al Udeid Air Base makes history

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. John Wilkes

Airmen and F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in early July 2019, marking the first-ever fifth-generation fighter aircraft deployment to AUAB.

The deployment was a total force effort consisting of Airmen from the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing at JBL-E. Over a period of six months, the Guardsmen and active duty Airmen achieved many milestones while delivering decisive airpower throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“With approximately 48 hours’ notice, the deployment was one of the fastest and largest ever for fifth-generation fighter aircraft in CENTCOM history,” said Lt. Col. David Bonn, 379th Expeditionary Operations Group deputy commander.

Fifth-generation aircraft deployments bring a variety of challenges that were new to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, requiring Airmen from across AUAB to adapt and overcome, according to Bonn. Keeping the aircraft operational and performing maintenance in high heat environments is more difficult. Requirements for security are more stringent and the supply chain is more complex.

Despite these challenges, the Airmen hit the ground running, flying their first mission within 72 hours. They also recorded the most-ever F-22 flying missions in a month and the highest utilization rate in CENTCOM history.

With 12 aircraft, making up only a small portion of the United States Air Force F-22 inventory, the squadron accounted for 11 percent of total flying missions and 30 percent of total flying hours while supporting operations across the CENTCOM AOR.

“From logistics and security forces to operations and maintenance, this deployment has been a runaway success,” said Bonn. “It took our base coming together to receive these jets and begin turning missions in record time.”

Over a 180-day period the squadron set the standard for future F-22 employment.

“They were called on by the combatant commanders to deliver air superiority, deter adversaries, and demonstrate America’s commitment to our regional partners.” said Bonn. “During moments of instability in this region, F-22 air dominance has been an absolute certainty.”

As part of CENTCOM and U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing delivers airpower to provide deterrence and stability throughout the AOR.