Air Force Raptors heading to Guam
The Air Force in the Pacific will deploy at least six of its latest high-tech F-22A Raptor combat jets to Guam this summer.
Gen. Carrol "Howie" Chandler, who assumed command of Pacific Air Forces in November, told reporters yesterday that the Raptors will be from the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.
At $136 million each, the Raptors are the most expensive Air Force jets ever built. They became operational in 2005 and can cruise at the supersonic speed of 1,000 mph for long periods. F-16 fighter jets can fly faster than the speed of sound of 760 mph, but only for short periods.
Eventually, 20 of these fifth-generation fighters will be stationed at Hickam Air Force Base and owned by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron. They also will be crewed by pilots from the active Air Force's 531st Fighter Squadron. The jets will replace the aging F-15 Eagles that the 199th Squadron has flown since 1987.
Of the Guam deployment, Chandler said, "It's a great place for them to train because it allows them to get out of Alaska in the wintertime when the training opportunities are not that good."