Why Russia Should Really Hate the F-22 Raptor

War Is Boring

War Is Boring

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Why Russia Should Really Hate the F-22 Raptor

In 2013, the U.S. Air Force’s Alaska-based 3rd Wing devised a new way to deploy its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters in order to make them more survivable in a war with China.

Now the “Rapid Raptor” concept has a new goal—to deter Russian aggression.

(This article by David Axe originally appeared in War is Boring in 2016.)

The 3rd Wing’s scheme is simple. Instead of always painstakingly deploying entire 20-plane squadrons or even the whole 40-jet wing — as custom dictated — wing officers wrote new procedures for sending a quartet of F-22s plus a single supporting C-17 cargo plane practically anywhere in the Pacific region possessing a suitable airfield, all within 24 hours of the word “go.”

The 3rd Wing gave the idea its “Rapid Raptor” name and proudly briefed the concept to the Air Force’s chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh. The aim was for the 3rd Wing, during wartime, to quickly disperse its F-22s across many bases instead of concentrating them at just one facility where they might be vulnerable to, say, a Chinese ballistic-missile barrage.

Rapid Raptor also helps the Air Force to make more efficient uses of its comparatively small fleet of 180 or so F-22s, just two-thirds of which actually have a combat role. The balance are training jets.

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