Gen. Paul V. Hester, Pacific Air Forces commander, today told reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium that PACAF expects to receive its first F-22 in 2008 or 2009. The tiny size of the fleet (now only 183) means the command must start now to make careful plans for how it will use the Raptor—its missions, deployments, and so on. Because Pacific Air Forces will have so few, said Hester, “we will have to do a better job scheduling,” and “only put them in an AEF to go somewhere when it is absolutely necessary to have the skills and the talents and the technologies of the Raptor.” PACAF’s first Raptors will be based at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, where preparations for their arrival are already underway. “As you know, we wanted to have one squadron per AEF,” Hester said. “We don’t have that, and we’ve got to do a little better scheduling.”
An Air Force C-17 transport jet recently tested a new technology that could help aviators stay on course even if the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) that much of modern-day aviation relies on is compromised.