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380AEW Article

Airmen ensure F-22 provides lethal, decisive airpower

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

Airmen with the Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Raptor Aircraft Maintenance Unit prove every day just how ‘Bad to the Bone’ they are by the teamwork that goes into ensuring the F-22 Raptor is mission ready.

The F-22 Raptor, which became operational in 2005, is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft and cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics represents an exponential leap in war-fighting capabilities.

“Our mission is to project airpower as deemed by the air tasking order and ensure quality maintenance is being performed on the aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Adam, specialist section chief. “We are the tip of the spear, We deliver munitions on target when it is called by the ATO.”

Airmen with the Raptor AMU work around the clock ensuring the F-22 Raptor provides lethal and decisive airpower wherever and whenever needed.

“We provide safe, capable aircraft to get the mission done,” said Staff Sgt. Robert, dedicated crew chief, currently deployed from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

More than four different specialties work together to get the Raptor in the air. From the crew chiefs to the back shops, each one has a unique role in the overall mission.

“We are like a puzzle, said Robert, a native of Dallas, Texas. “Everybody has their little piece and we put them all together, which helps make the F-22 Raptor the most capable thing it can be.”

The work that goes into getting the F-22 Raptor in the air typically begins the night before.

“We start with making sure everything from hydraulics to tires to the stored energy system is serviced properly so the [F-22 Raptor] can fly,” said Robert. “When the next shift rolls in, there will be another walk around and inspection of the aircraft to make sure everything is good and ready.”

Prior to sending the pilot to the end of the runway for his final inspection, we will do what we call a ‘wing tip-to-wing tip’ inspection making sure that all the things we can see from the outside of the aircraft are good to go, added Robert.

After the mission is over, the Airmen with the Raptor AMU will start their basic postflight inspection and get the aircraft ready for either a quick turn or the next day’s mission.

Another vital role within the Raptor AMU belongs to the avionics specialists, who are responsible for maintaining the aircraft’s sophisticated avionics packages.

“We diagnose every problem the pilot has with the avionics systems,” said Senior Airman Adrian, integrated avionics specialist, currently deployed from Tyndall AFB, Fla., and a native of Las Cruces, N.M. “From flight control systems to radar to communication, navigation and identification systems, it is our job to make sure the systems stay up and running to ensure the F-22 Raptor gets in the air.”

Whether it is day-to-day servicing or avionics maintenance on the worlds most advanced and lethal fighter aircraft, Airmen within the Raptor AMU are vital to ensuring the F-22 Raptor remains unmatched in the skies.

“When I first came in and found out I was going to be a crew chief on an F-22 Raptor I was excited,” said Robert. “I was about to go work on the coolest thing in the world and become part of the one thing that everybody wants to know about and everybody wants to see.”

The Raptor AMU has been in theater supporting Operation Inherent Resolve for a few months now and have already had some major accomplishments they can be proud of.

“The Raptor AMU currently deployed from the 95th AMU out of Tyndall Air Force Base has never deployed combat-wise,” said Adam. “This is the first combat deployment for this unit, as well as the first bombs ever dropped from Tyndall AFB.”

The accomplishments keep going as we move along with the deployment. We are setting milestones no other squadron, F-22 wise, has ever achieved, added Adam.

“Our mission is important not just for here but for the overall effort, as far as trying to fight whatever target we have,” said Adam. “As an overall effort we are all a big part of pushing the threat away from where they are with trying to take over the Middle East. We are all working together to stop that from happening, which is how we all fit into the big picture.”

(Editor’s note: Due to safety and security reasons, last names and unit designators were removed.)