Location and Timing

F-22s didn’t see action over Libya because they weren’t close by enough when Operation Odyssey Dawn came together earlier this month, Chief of Staff Gen Norton Schwartz told lawmakers Wednesday. “Clearly, had the F-22s been stationed in Europe, both closer in proximity, and therefore, more available, they undoubtedly would have been used,” he said in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel. Combat-configured F-22s are based in Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Virginia. Since the Libya operation “came together fairly quickly,” Schwartz said Odyssey Dawn planners made the judgment call “to apply the various tools” already in Europe or operating in the Mediterranean Sea. “The fact that the F-22 didn’t perform in this particular mission was not an ad hominem against that weapon system at all,” Schwartz stressed. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley noted at the same hearing that the F-22 currently has air-to-ground capability that is “somewhat more limited” than that of the F-15E. The latter has seen action in Libya against ground targets. (Donley-Schwartz written testimony)