In a first deployment for the F-22 Raptor team at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, a team of 132 active and Air Force Reserve Command airmen worked together during a two-week Combat Archer live-fire exercise at Tyndall AFB, Fla., checking off a “successful” enterprise that puts the Alaska team “one step closer to initial operational capability,” said Maj. David Piffarerio, exercise project officer. Piffarerio, who is a pilot with AFRC’s 302nd Fighter Squadron activated just last fall, noted that 14 out of 16 missiles fired during the exercise met weapons system evaluation program “hit criteria and passed with the lethal radius or hit the [target] drone.” Capt. Megan Rogers, deployed maintenance commander from the active 3rd Wing, said, “I have to look at the patches to tell who is from the [Reserve] 477th Fighter Group and who is from the 3rd Wing.” With the 477th FG serving in a classic associate role, sharing operations and maintenance duties on the Raptors, the captain said, the Reservists “will bring experience to our mission … [and] provide continuity.” (Elmendorf report by Capt. Torri White)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.