Asked why the Air Force hasn’t deployed F-22s to US Central Command’s area of responsibility to blunt criticism that it hasn’t been used in combat, Gen. John Corley, commander of Air Combat Command, said, “We don’t want to do just a trick.” The F-22, he told reporters March 27 in Washington, D.C., will be called on if needed, and if it makes sense to use it. There are few air defenses employed in Iraq or Afghanistan requiring the F-22’s stealth, speed, and sensor fusion, but Corley acknowledged that Gen. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff, has said he may try this year to get F-22s deployed to the theater, such as to the Air Warfare Center run by the United Arab Emirates, so that they could participate in air-combat training exercises with friends and partners in the region. Regardless, “the F-22 has already proven itself” in wargames, real-world deployments, and on-the-ramp maintenance, Corley asserted. It has “exceeded our wildest expectations” in all aspects of performance, he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.