Operators and maintainers from the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, N.M., the home of the first operational stealth fighter, the F-117, traveled to Langley AFB, Va., the first operational home of the new F-22A stealth fighter to pass on 25 years of accumulated experience. The Air Force already has begun retiring its Nighthawk force. The Holloman airmen also are picking up tips on the Raptor beddown, since the New Mexico facility is on the list of future F-22 units. SrA. Terri Barriere reports that this is actually the third such meeting between the Nighthawk and Raptor airmen, each succeeding session with a different focus. “This is the first time we will really be able to talk full capabilities of both jets at an operational level,” said Lt. Col. Todd Flesch, commander of the 8th Fighter Squadron at Holloman.
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.