While We’re In the Neighborhood

An F-22 Raptor conducted a fly-by at the Bahrain International Air Show on Jan. 16. But where did it come from? An Air Force Headquarters spokesman said F-22s are “currently deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia,” making them available for the show without making a dedicated trip from CONUS for the occasion. The flyby is “one way we can showcase US military aircraft at a premier air show,” the spokesman said. The F-22 and a B-1B bomber—also based in the region—will make flybys, but not be on static display, although a number of US military aircraft, mostly Navy, will be. “We have a longstanding relationship with the air show and our regional military partners and we hope that it will enhance our future relationships,” the spokesman said. Participation “enhances our interoperability and demonstrates our shared commitment to regional security and stability.” Air Force officials have previously disclosed that F-22s have rotated to an unnamed base in the region of the Persian Gulf, especially during heightened tensions with Iran. Last March, an F-22 warned off Iranian F-4s, which were intercepting a USAF MQ-1 Predator drone over the Persian Gulf. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in September that the F-22 inspected one F-4’s weapons load from below—apparently unnoticed—and then “pulled up on their left wing and called them and said, ‘You really ought to go home.'”