F-22 Still Flying Over Syria

The F-22 is still flying sorties over Syria, in addition to last week’s strikes on targets in and around Aleppo, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. Giving the first detailed comments by a senior official on the fifth generation aircraft’s mission in the Middle East, Harrigian—a veteran F-15 and F-22 pilot—said planners examined both the threat environment and the mission tasks on the first night of the campaign and decided the F-22 needed to be part of the package in order to deliver the “desired effects.” “They wanted to ensure that they used the right capabilities in the right location,” Harrigian told reporters on Sept. 29. The F-22 has both speed and stealth, but it also has an integrated avionics package, which greatly improves situational awareness, not just for the pilot, but for the “entire [strike package] that’s going to execute the mission.” Harrigian said the Raptor continues to fly over Syria, though he noted the aircraft have not dropped munitions on every mission. Planners are taking a look at the “specifics of each mission and determining if they need them or not,” Harrigian said, depending on targets, where they are located, and what the “environment” is like.