Rapid Raptor Package

Sept. 27, 2013—F-22 officers with the 3rd Wing at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have devised a concept that allows for dispatching a contingent of F-22s with a smaller logistics package to any forward location and having the fighters combat-ready at the new location—all within 24 hours of deploying.

The wing has tested this new rapid deployment package multiple times, and featured it in exercises, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle told the Daily Report in recent interviews. Members of Elmendorf’s 525th Fighter Squadron briefed Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on the concept during Welsh’s visit to the base in August.

The concept is paying dividends as it expands the aperture of potential F-22 operations and the jet’s usefulness as a strategic asset, said Carlisle and 3rd WG officials. The concept addresses one of the Air Force’s biggest challenges: getting the most capability out of its existing force structure, particularly its F-22 force, its sole operational fifth generation fighters.

The concept is built around a tailored four-ship deployment of F-22s paired with a single C-17 that carries supporting materials, munitions, and maintainers. The model is scalable and involves a smaller logistics footprint than the traditional F-22 deployments as part of theater security packages to fixed installations such as Andersen AFB, Guam, or Kadena AB, Japan.

“If you have the right capability on a C-17 . . . and you have the F-22s, you can move them together, quickly,” said Carlisle.

He said potential adversaries know that the Air Force normally launches and recovers from fixes bases. They “become fairly easily targetable if you want to do something to them” he said.

The agility of the new deployment package denies a potential adversary the ability to locate the F-22s for an extended period.

“He may know [the Raptors] are there, but by the time he wants to do anything about it, you won’t be there anymore,” said Carlisle.