December 16, 2009 (by A1C Jason J. Brown) - After completing another first for the F-22A Raptor, 27th Fighter Squadron pilots and aircraft returned from 40-day deployment to South-West Asia December 16.
A USAF F-22 Raptor conducts a training mission during a multinational exercise on December 9th, 2009, in Southwest Asia. The F-22 fighters and crews are deployed from the 27th FS at Langley AFB. [USAF photo by SSgt. Michael B. Keller]
"Our participation in Iron Falcon is another milestone in the rich history of the Fightin' Eagles," said Lt. Col. Lansing Pilch, 27th FS
commander. "The F-22 Raptor is fully mission-capable, and this exercise was another opportunity to employ the U.S. Air Force's newest fighter aircraft in a different environment."
Iron Falcon is a recurring training exercise designed to strengthen military relationships abroad, with such countries as France, England and Pakistan
. Training missions include defensive and offensive counter-air, tactical air-to-surface maritime operations and combat search and rescue sorties. Despite sandstorms and extreme heat, the six Raptors flew undefeated, primarily against foreign F-16s and Mirage 2000s.
The multi-national exercise is sponsored by the United Arab Emirates
Air Warfare Center and brings together Gulf Cooperation Council nations and other countries to provide integration and interoperability of air power vision, doctrine and purpose.
"We are proud of our relationship with members of the GCC and will continue to build and enhance those relationships," said Colonel Pilch. "Members of the GCC are valued partners in the region, and this training enhanced their ability to ensure security of the region."