Friday, December 14, 2007

F-22s at Langley receive FOC status

by David Hopper, Air Combat Command Public Affairs

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- F-22 Raptors here reached full operational capability Dec. 12, said Gen. John D.W. Corley, the commander of Air Combat Command.

The announcement officially makes Langley's F-22 squadrons combat ready.

FOC for the F-22 means the aircraft are now ready for global engagement, said Lt. Col. Mark Hansen, the Air Combat Command F-22 integration officer.

"Crews are now (fully) organized, trained, equipped and ready for the joint fight," he said.

Since the F-22s reached initial operational capability two years ago, the 1st Fighter Wing and the Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing have dedicated time and resources into finding how to best use and maintain the world's most advanced fighter. The fighter has deployed and trained across the world to define and refine its capabilities and tactics.

The 1st FW has been training for the wartime mission since the F-22 went IOC, said Brig. Gen. Mark A. Barrett, the 1st FW commander. Langley AFB's F-22s were declared IOC in December 2005, making them capable of some combat operations such as homeland defense.

"We are available to be tasked at any time, to do whatever our nation requires," General Barrett said. The 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings will continue to baseline the F-22 so the rest of the fleet can learn from their experience, he said.

Even though the F-22 has reached FOC, Airmen at Langley AFB will continue training to get better every day, said Col. Jay Pearsall, the 192nd FW commander.

"There's no change in training," he said. "Everybody is working hard, and we're ready to go to war, (on) deployments or on exercises."

The F-22's unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, gives the airframe numerous advantages over any potential adversary.