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VMFA-122 trains with fifth-generation fighters

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Alissa Schuning (MCAS Iwakuni) | Marine Corps Base Hawaii | July 25, 2014

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY -- Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 conducted Dissimilar Air Combat Training against the 199th Fighter Squadron while aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii during the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise, July 1, 2014.

The 199th Fighter Squadron is with the Hawaii National Guard 154th Wing, based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The DACT training included the F/A-18C Hornet, used by VMFA-122, and the F-22 Raptor, used by the 199th.

"For any pilot, you often train more with the same type, model and series of aircraft your unit uses, so it's a valuable opportunity to train with another service and another aircraft," said Capt. Cody P. Buras, a pilot with VMFA-122. "You get to see its capabilities and limitations and really test your own aircraft, which is something you can't really get when fighting the same aircraft you fly."

The Raptor, a fifth generation aircraft, is a combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, which represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities, according to

"You hear a lot of stories about the Raptor and about (its) capabilities," said Capt. Christopher Collins, a pilot with VMFA-122. "To see it perform was pretty cool. It was great as a fourth-generation (aircraft) pilot to perform on a fifth-generation platform."

Although it was a fourth-generation aircraft (manufactured during the 1970s and 1980s) against a fifth-generation aircraft (made from 2005 through the present), Buras believes the F/A-18 held its own during the training.

"I think we did fairly well, which is pretty good considering the capabilities of the F-22 and never having fought an aircraft of that level before," Buras said.

According to Collins, the capabilities of an aircraft can only go so far, and in the end, it's the man in the machine who matters most.

"There are some great pilots in the F-22 community," Collins said. "I was impressed to say the least. It's great to know the Air Force trains their pilots to a high standard and are flying a really great aircraft, but so are we."

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