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December 4, 2014

USAF airmen evaluate Rapid Raptor concept in Guam

The US Air Force (USAF) airmen have tested the latest approach to fighter deployment to any location at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), Guam, US.

F-22s

The US Air Force (USAF) airmen have tested the latest approach to fighter deployment to any location at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), Guam, US.

Currently in the proof-of-concept phase, the Rapid Raptor concept seeks to rapidly deploy a package of F-22 Raptors and supporting logistics to any forward operating base in the world, and have the aircraft in combat-ready status within 24 hours of employment.

The concept uses at least one C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to swiftly move, refuel and rearm a minimum of four F-22s in unfamiliar, austere environments, with a smaller footprint.

Pacific Air Forces Current Operations and Power Projection Division chief lieutenant colonel David Eaglin said: "The ability to launch F-22s to a non-traditional location with a complement of additional pilots, embedded maintenance, and fuel and munitions allows for unprecedented flexibility in fifth-generation fighter aircraft deployment.

"Rapid Raptor, once operationalised, will enable us to deploy to and operate from austere locations with a contained cell of personnel and equipment.

"This will provide us a much greater capability to swiftly respond in support of security and stability in the region."

The exercise was held in a simulated austere section of Andersen AFB, where personnel stayed in a tent city. It also embedded the 36th Contingency Response Group (CRG) as a part of the detachment supporting Rapid Raptor.

"Rapid Raptorwill enable the USAF to deploy to and operate from austere locations with a contained cell of personnel and equipment."

The CRG provided tents, water and air conditioning in addition to moving and inspecting the cargo.

Captain Mike Ball said: "All in all, this iteration of the Rapid Raptor concept development was a success.

"We’re one step closer to increasing operational approaches available to ensure security and stability across the Asia-Pacific region."

Developed under Pacific Command, the Rapid Raptor concept has already been tested three times, with the demonstration held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, in August this year.

In September, Pacific Air Forces commander general Hawk Carlisle told Daily Report that the package prohibits the adversaries from identifying the airbases from which bases F-22s launch, denying them the ability to locate the fifth-generation warplanes for an extended period.


Image: Four USAF F-22 Raptors taxi prior to take-off at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, US. Photo: courtesy of Hawaii Air National Guard photo/Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz.

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