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.

Defence Technology