5/10/2006 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- The Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-22A Raptor, will make its Pacific-region debut in exercise Northern Edge 2006 in June.
Twelve F-22As from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., along with U.S. military units stationed in the continental United States and the Pacific theater, will participate in this joint training exercise. It is hosted by U.S. Alaskan Command and is scheduled for June 5 to 16 on and above central Alaska ranges and the Gulf of Alaska.
“The Raptor is the key to defeating deadly next-generation threats to today’s aircraft. (They) can strike deep and fast, day or night, paving the way for friendly air, land and sea forces to operate at will without interference from an opposing air force,” said Col. Russ Handy, 1st Fighter Wing vice commander. “With its combination of stealth, supercruise speed, advanced avionics, air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, the F-22A’s survivability and striking power make it uniquely capable of countering advanced threats from Day One of any conflict.”
The F-22A, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to the nation's Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.
Northern Edge is the largest military training exercise scheduled in Alaska this year, with approximately 5,000 U.S. active-duty and reserve-component military members participating.
“Northern Edge is designed to prepare joint forces to respond to crises in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Col. John Marselus, chief of Alaskan Command's joint exercise division. “The exercise is intended to sharpen skills; to practice operations, techniques and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop interoperable plans and programs.”
While this may be the first appearance of the F-22A in the Alaskan sky, it is also a precursor of things to come. The Air Force has selected Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as the home for the next operational F-22A wing. The base is preparing for the arrival of 36 Raptors, with the first jet expected to arrive in fall 2007.
Units participating in Northern Edge 2006 include Pacific Air Forces, Air Combat Command, U.S. Army Alaska, Marine Forces Pacific, Special Operations Command Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet.