F-22s Complete European Deployment

The largest F-22 Raptor deployment to Europe so far was completed on May 8. The 12 F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., and some 220 airmen deployed to RAF Lakenheath, England, for one month, during which time the Raptors participated in Exercise Iron Hand 16-3 and conducted training with Lakenheath fighter squadrons and RAF Typhoons, according to a May 9 Lakenheath release. The Raptors also forward deployed to Romania and Lithuania to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to its NATO allies and its Rapid Raptor capabilities. The F-22s also participated in the 100th Anniversary of the Lafayette Escadrille in Paris. “There’s different capabilities here, different air space that we don’t have access to back home … ,” said 1st Lt. Jolly Foss, an F-22 pilot with the 95th FS. He added, “We had some long sorties, where you send anywhere between 10-12 jets on the blue side against 10 aircraft on the red side; tactical sorties, where we look into destroying targets on the ground; and strictly defensive count?er air, which is keeping the enemy from approaching that line.” This was the second F-22 deployment to Europe. (See also European Raptors.)