The East Coast F-15 demonstration team stood down Dec. 1, making its last performance at Langley AFB, Va. Since Langley now is mostly an F-22 base, “it’s important for the public to see and appreciate what that airplane can do,” said outgoing F-15 demo pilot Maj. Jason Costello. The F-22, which has only been on static display at some air shows, will do a very short, five-pass program at some exhibitions in 2007. In 2008, though, Costello said that it will perform a new routine designed to far surpass the impressive program the F-15 has put on for 27 years. The F-22 will demonstrate extremely tight turns, make a high subsonic pass, and come to a virtual stop over the airfield, then accelerate straight up from there, among other maneuvers. In a ceremonial farewell pass, Costello’s F-15 ceded flight lead of the demo team to an F-22 flown by Maj. Paul Moga, the new F-22 demo pilot. There will still be F-15 demo pilots in Europe and the Pacific, until they, too, are replaced by F-22s when the new aircraft becomes established in those regions. Tactical Air Command chief Gen. Wilbur Creech established the F-15 demo team in 1979 to showcase the Air Force’s operational capabilities.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.