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F-22 Raptor To Be Deployed To The Northern Pacific

File image of F-22 Raptor.
by John C.K. Daly
UPI International Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Aug 07, 2006
The F-22 Raptor, America's most advanced fighter, is being deployed to the northern Pacific where Chinese and North Korean military capabilities are of growing concern.

The F-22 Raptor stealth fighter is a joint development project by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. The Raptor formally entered U.S. Air Force service last December as the F-22A.

The F-22 Raptor is the most expensive American fighter aircraft ever built. In April the Government Accountability Office estimated the cost at $361 million per aircraft.

Air Force Link reported Aug. 3 that Pacific Air Forces' officials attended a F-22 Raptor tail flash unveiling ceremony at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga.

Lockheed Martin employs some 8,000 people at the Marietta plant. About half of them work on the F-22 Raptor and the C130J Hercules transport.

PACAF's first F-22 Raptor is still under construction, and will be the first of 36 F-22s assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, beginning in 2007. Elmendorf will eventually house two active-duty F-22 squadrons and a reserve associate squadron.

During the ceremony, PACAF commander Gen. Paul V. Hester said, "I'm excited about getting this incredible new air dominance capability into the Pacific.

"F-22s based in Alaska in the near-term and Hawaii in the mid-term demonstrate the tremendous American commitment to the region by assuring security and stability for our nation, as well as for our friends and allies.

"In the future, the aircraft also will be assigned to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The 199th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard will fly the F-22 and the 531st Fighter Squadron will be an Active associate squadron to them.

"I'm looking forward to leveraging all three components of our Total Force: Active Duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve to squeeze every ounce of capability out of these great fighters. Our Total Force is critical in today's challenging environments ... and I couldn't be more pleased that all three elements are going to be fully engaged in the Raptor business," he said.

Source: United Press International

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Washington (UPI) Aug 03, 2006
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