JB Langley-Eustis, Va. F-22s are flying daily in support of anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria, carrying weapons and also keeping a close eye on what Syrian air defenses are doing. Col. Peter Fesler, commander of the 1st Fighter Wing at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., said the F-22’s specific capabilities, especially its “sensor fusion and battlespace awareness” have kept the Raptors busy flying daily in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Langley’s 27th Fighter Squadron is deployed currently to US Central Command in support of the campaign. Raptors are integrating into strike packages, watching what other aircraft in the air space are doing, and keeping an eye on Syrian Air Defenses. The aircraft fly with a mix of air-to-ground weapons, such as the GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, and air-to-air weaponry for protection. “That is a unique capability that the F-22 brings, and that’s what they’re doing on a daily basis,” said Fesler.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.