The new F-22 Raptor force at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, has sent 12 fighters and some 270 airmen to Andersen AFB, Guam, for a three-month deployment as a Pacific Region theater security package. The 12 Raptors arrived Jan. 18. Elmendorf sent a Raptor cadre to Guam last summer for a three-week training excursion. This latest Guam deployment is one of two F-22 TSPs currently in the Pacific; the other deployed from Langley AFB, Va., to Kadena AB, Japan. The Elmendorf Raptor element, operating on Guam as the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, will train alongside other US aircraft, including B-52H bombers deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., and Minot AFB, N.D., which also send aircraft on a rotational basis to beef up Pacific forces. In addition to getting joint training experience, Lt. Col. Orlando Sanchez, 90th EFS commander, commended the new training environment, saying, “Many of our younger pilots don’t get the opportunity to drop many live weapons during training in Alaska, and with the ranges and opportunities they have here at Andersen, many of them will get the valuable experience required to truly be air dominant.” Sanchez also noted that the Alaskan aircraft “are still young, and it will be interesting to see how they react to the dramatic climate differences between Alaska and Guam.” (Includes Andersen report by SrA. Ryan Whitney)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.