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First Raptor arrives at Tyndall


Release Date: 9/29/2003

by Tech. Sgt. Dan Neely 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/29/2003 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- The first operational F/A-22 Raptor was delivered to the Air Force's F/A-22 schoolhouse here Sept. 26.

Tyndall, once known as "The Home of Air Superiority" became "The Home of Air Dominance," with the arrival of its first F/A-22. The Raptor will eventually replace the F-15 Eagle and sets the foundation for the next generation of combat-fighter pilots.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of the 43rd Fighter Squadron here, flew "Raptor 18" from the Lockheed Martin Corp. assembly plant in Marietta, Ga., to Tyndall. Harrigian's squadron will train future F/A-22 pilots.

"This is truly a historic event for Tyndall and the U.S. Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Larry New, 325th Fighter Wing commander. "We're very excited down here -- both the people here at Tyndall and our local community partners -- about standing up the Air Force's very first operational F/A-22 squadron, bringing in the next chapter of Air Force history in air dominance and serving our nation."

"This is a great honor for me personally," Harrigian said. "I never thought I'd have the chance. This is a huge day, not just for the 43rd and the 325th, but for the entire Air Force and Bay County. I think we're all really proud to have the airplane here."

Harrigian thanked the entire Raptor team -- base members, contractors and the community.

"I know it's been years and years of effort. From the bottom of my heart, I really do appreciate it," he said. "We'll do it right here, and just as General New said, 'this is just the beginning.' Air dominance will be our job and we look forward to doing that."

The F/A-22, the Air Force's premiere fighter, is a multi-role aircraft, designed to perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions. The Raptor elevates U.S. technological advantages and updates '70s technology using stealth, integrated avionics, maneuverability and supercruise (the capability to reach and maintain supersonic speeds without using fuel-expensive afterburners). These characteristics will provide the warfighter air dominance in any battlespace, according to officials.

The F/A-22 is a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances, to counter and defeat threats that will attempt to deny access to our forces. The F/A-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected adversary fighter aircraft.

The 325th FW, which trains F-15 pilots, air-battle managers, intelligence officers and air traffic controllers, was officially selected as the site for the F/A-22 pilot training program in August 2000.

Tyndall is expected to receive 50 Raptors over the next two years.

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