January 24, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The F-22A Raptor completed its first operational missions this past weekend while flying sorties in support of Operation Noble Eagle. F-22s from the 27th FS flew Combat Air Patrols over the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
An F-22A Raptor takes off from Langley Air Force Base Jan. 21 during an Operation Noble Eagle mission. This historical event marks the first time the F-22A Raptor is participating in the joint services operation to protect American soil. The Raptor is piloted by Lt. Col. James Hecker, the 27th Fighter Squadron commander.
F-22 fighters from the 27th Fighter Squadron brought thier new capabilities into the mix for the first time in a real world application as they flew combat air patrols over the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. With a "God's eye" view of the airspace around it and a quicker scanning radar, the F-22 is a better fit for the mission of tracking, identifying, and downing potentially hostile aircraft.
The Raptor also brings with it another new capability. Super cruising, the ability to fly supersonic without using fuel guzzling afterburners, allows the F-22 to reach a target just as fast as legacy fighters while extending its time on station once the target area is reached.
The 27th Fighter Squadron operates its new F-22A Raptor jets out of Langley Air Force Base in Virgina, a short distance from Washington, DC. The F-22 officially completed Follow On Testing and Evaluation (FOT&E) last week and is the only fifth generation fighter aircraft active in the world today.