It’s been almost 10 years since the F-22 Raptor entered service in December 2005. Its journey to combat has been well documented, and many Airmen, both on the ground and in the air, worked together to get the aircraft ready for its first real-world mission.
The hard work paid off when the Raptor made its combat debut recently as part of an overnight airstrike on 14 ISIL targets in Syria in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal.
The F-22 offers unparalleled situational awareness and maneuverability. Its design, advanced flight controls, integrated avionics and thrust-vectoring capability combine to give the Raptor the ability to perform once-impossible aerial maneuvers.
It is capable of employing a M61A2 20-millimeter cannon with 480 rounds, internal side weapon bays carriage of two AIM-9 infrared (heat seeking) air-to-air missiles and internal main weapon bays carriage of six AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-air loadout) or two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAMs and two AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-ground loadout).
The strikes by the F-22 and other aircraft destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets, including ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks, and armed vehicles.
Other U.S. aircraft participating in the operation included remotely piloted aircraft, F-15E Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F/A-18 Hornets and B-1 Lancer bombers.
The United States conducted these strikes as part of the president’s comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. Going forward, the U.S. military will continue to conduct targeted airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq as local forces go on the offensive against this terrorist group.
(U.S. Central Command Public Affairs contributed to this story)