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USAF studies environmental impact of F-22 Raptors at Holloman AFB

April 13, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The days of the F-117 Nighthawk are numbered with retirement looming around the corner for the black jets.

An F/A-22 Raptor takes off from Nellis AFB for a mission. During a two-ship sortie, Airmen from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron flew the first Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation mission on the F/A-22 Raptor on Aug. 29, releasing Joint Direct Attack Munitions on the Utah Test and Training Range. [U.S. Air Force photo by Tech.Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald]

All F-117s are currently based at Holloman AFB in New Mexico aside from the few that are used for testing and their departure would leave a large vacancy at the desert base.

Enter the F-22A Raptor. The U.S. Air Force's newest and most capable fighter jet ever is poised to take up residence at several bases around the U.S. including Holloman. The wide open spaces and low population density are perfect for training sorties in the F-22 which can fly at over Mach one without using afterburners.

While the F-22 has been a hit at recent airshows including its first appearance at a civilian air show, the Raptor is one of the most secret jets in the U.S. Air Force and the remote location of Holloman would help with keeping those secrets, as well.

Due to U.S. environmental laws, however, the Air Force must complete an environmental impact study prior to basing the F-22 at Holloman. The study should take between six and nine months to complete. Holloman AFB would be the third base to receive a squadron of F-22s. Currently, Raptors are based at Langley AFB in Virginia with Elmendorf, Alaska scheduled for the second squadron and Hickam AFB in Hawaii being the last base to get their Raptors.

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