Combat Ready Raptors, Anywhere in Three Days

Pacific Air Forces F-22s tested a new flash deployment concept known as “Rapid Raptor,” departing for a bare-base with everything needed to launch combat sorties within 72 hours aboard a single C-17. Raptor deployments were previously limited to established bases, such as Guam or Okinawa, making theater security package rotations predictable, according to officials. However, PACAF planners began work last year on a way to reduce Raptor’s predictability against potential adversaries, testing the concept through three Polar Force exercises that culminated last week, according to a release. Several F-22s from JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and a lone C-17 airlifter packed with weapons, equipment, and support personnel left for a simulated bare-base at nearby Eielson AFB. Less than 72 hours from a standing start, the jets were armed and ready to launch. The drills successfully proved PACAF’s ability to deploy combat ready Raptors anywhere in the Pacific with sufficient runway in three days, states the release. “The ability to use the Rapid Raptor innovation, developed by JBER’s 3rd Wing in concert with the 477th Air Force Reserve Fighter Group, will allow PACAF to shape the future of fifth generation fighter strategy for multiple combatant commanders,” states the release.