Raptors arrive at Kadena
Two F-22 Raptors taxi after landing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 18, marking the aircraft's first overseas deployment. The jets are two of 12 along with more than 250 Airmen deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va., to Kadena as part of an air expeditionary force rotation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Sheila deVera)
by Maj. Dani Johnson
18th Wing Public Affairs
2/19/2007 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNEWS) -- Ten F-22 Raptors arrived here Feb. 17 and 18 for the first overseas deployment of the Air Force's newest air supremacy aircraft.
The aircraft, assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., started their deployment to Kadena almost 10 days previously with a stop at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. While en route, a software issue affecting the aircraft's navigation system was discovered Feb. 11 causing the aircraft to return to Hickam.
The issue was corrected and the aircraft continued on to Kadena. According the 27th FS commander, Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver, the unit is excited about the opportunity to work with the 18th Wing and other services while in the Pacific.
"Every time we fly this jet we learn something new, and to have to opportunity to fly it here in the Pacific with the F-15s (Eagles) and other aircraft is something we are looking forward to," said Colonel Tolliver.
The deployment is part of an air expeditionary force rotation. While the first deployment overseas as part of the AEF, it is not the first time the unit has sent its aircraft to other locations. Most recently the aircraft deployed to Alaska.
"This deployment is a great opportunity for the squadron. We are 8,000 miles away from our support system and home base," the colonel said. "Not only will we be learning about operating from an overseas operation, we will get the opportunity to educate the Air Force and our sister services on the capabilities the jet brings to the fight."
The colonel emphasized that the F-22 was not necessarily created to replace any one airframe in the Air Force.
"The F-22 brings an enormous capability to the Air Force," Colonel Tolliver said. "It is not about what aircraft it is replacing but about how to integrate this new aircraft into the fleet and what advantages it brings to the force."
Colonel Tolliver said the squadron will use this deployment to not only educate but to learn more innovative and advanced tactics to enhance the warfighting capability.
"This is history in the making," said Brig. Gen. Punch Moulton, the 18th WG commander. "This deployment definitely brings unmatched combat airpower to the Pacific highlighting the importance of the bilateral alliance of promoting peace and stability in the region."
The 27th FS deployed more than 250 Airmen to Kadena for the 90-120 day deployment, which is part of a regularly-scheduled U.S. Pacific Command rotational assignment of aircraft to the Pacific.
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