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Stealth Guardian: FARP increases Air Force capabilities

A 95th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to receive fuel from a forward area refueling point in conjunction with exercise Stealth Guardian at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 10, 2017. Stealth Guardian is designed to demonstrate the Air Force’s ability to quickly deploy F-22 assets at a moment’s notice while showcasing the ability to establish flying operations in a combat or contingency environment.

A 95th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to receive fuel from a forward area refueling point in conjunction with exercise Stealth Guardian at Moody AFB, Ga., Aug. 10, 2017. Stealth Guardian is designed to demonstrate the Air Force’s ability to quickly deploy F-22 assets at a moment’s notice while showcasing the ability to establish flying operations in a combat or contingency environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz)

An F-22 Raptor from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., receives fuel from a forward area refueling point from an HC-130J Combat King II during exercise Stealth Guardian at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 10, 2017. The FARP program allows an HC-130J Combat King II to be used as a fuel provider when conventional fueling stations or air-to-air refueling options are not possible.

An F-22 Raptor from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., receives fuel from a forward area refueling point from an HC-130J Combat King II during exercise Stealth Guardian at Moody AFB, Ga., Aug. 10, 2017. The FARP program allows an HC-130J Combat King II to be used as a fuel provider when conventional fueling stations or air-to-air refueling options are not possible. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 325th Fighter Wing and the 23rd Wing were put to the test in a simulated deployed environment at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, as part of exercise Stealth Guardian, Aug. 10, 2017. Two F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, were rearmed and refueled by way of a forward air refueling point, or FARP, from an HC-130J Combat King II.

Stealth Guardian, a fusion of Rapid Raptor and Rapid Rescue, is designed to integrate and test Air Force assets through real-world exercise scenarios similar to those found in deployed settings or contingency environments.

Rapid Raptor tests the ability of the Air Force to quickly deploy F-22 assets into a combat or contingency environment.

“A FARP increases our ability to respond to any situation at a moment's notice,” said Capt. Josef ‘Hawg’, a 95th FS F-22 Raptor pilot. “It gives us the ability to operate out of austere locations which might otherwise be out of reach, thereby making us a much more efficient and flexible deployed force.”

In support of the exercise, Airmen, munitions and supplies were transported from Tyndall AFB via the HC-130J to the staging grounds at Moody AFB. Two F-22 landed, received fuel, were armed with munitions, and sent back on their way fully mission capable.

“Rapid Raptor allows us to integrate with other platforms which we don't normally get the opportunity to train with,” Josef said. “This is important not only for learning about other platforms and teaching them about the Raptor, but it also teaches us as pilots how to handle unique challenges presented by taking the F-22 off station where support assets may be limited.”

Integrating Rapid Raptor and Rapid Rescue showcases the interoperability of both the 23rd and 325th Wings while allowing Airmen the opportunity to train in real-world scenarios that are out of routine.

“This training is important because it allows us to practice and perfect a new skill set that will allow us to provide air dominance anywhere in the world on short notice, and with limited assets,” Josef said. “It increases flexibility and ultimately makes us a more capable and lethal fighting force.”

*Editor’s note: Full names have been left out for operational security purposes.

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