2015-08-29 F-22s are flying in the Middle East.
They are being joined by European based F-22s as well in Europe to work with the NATO allies.
The F-22s have flown for many years in Red Flag with allies.
Typhoon pilots have addressed their experience in flying with F-22 in Red Flag and have described the impact as significant for them as well.
Group Captain Paul Godfrey has been involved with Typhoon training with the F-22.
Based on that experience, Godfrey commented
The F-22 has unprecedented situational awareness.
And working with Typhoon, the F-22 enhanced our survivability and augmented our lethality.
The F-22 functions as a significant Situational Awareness (SA) gap filler for the operation of a fourth generation aircraft.”
The F-22 operating in the Middle East has brought new capabilities to the combat environment as well.
During an AFA breakfast meeting earlier this year, ACC Commander General “Hawk” Carlisle highlighted the F-22 role.
The F-22s have played an important role in Middle East operations.
They have combined within the fleet strike, ISR, and support capabilities.
He gave an example of one F-22 pilot who within a 12-hour mission during the night, variously conducted strike, ISR, and armed escort missions with several air refuelings during the night mission over Syria and Iraq.
And we will publish a series of interviews from Australia where the Royal Australian Air Force discuss their operations with F-22s as well in their transition to operating their own fifth generation aircraft.
But the Air Marshal of the RAAF has already weighed on the importance of working with the F-22s for the RAAF.
Question: Your Super Hornets flew for the first time in combat with F-22s.
What was the experience and what did you learn from that?
Air Marshal Davies; We have flown in Red Flag with F-22s and that training was crucial to operations in the Middle East. The pilots came back and said “it was just like in Red Flag.”
For us, at the moment the F-22 is a surrogate for the F-35, although with regard to combat systems and roles, the F-35 will be superior to the F-22.
But the point is to get the operational experience.
What we discussed at last year’s Williams Seminar with the Marines present is our basic point: What does a Super Hornet bring to 5th generation and what does the 5th generation bring to the 4.5 generation aircraft?
And to be clear, the F-35 brings significant knowledge about the battlespace and how to more effectively operate in the battlespace, manage the battlespace and dominate in the battlespace.
All of this will be an evolving work in progress, and that is inherent in our Plan Jericho approach (i.e., the fifth generation enabled transformation strategy) where discovery is expected and then the implications of discovery for evolving concepts of operations and prioritizing technological needs will follow.
The core point is that F-22s and F-35s do not operate, as do legacy aircraft and the Greek chorus of critics on the F-35 and the fifth generation transition simply blow past this combat reality.
This has also been helped by the very low public profile which the F-22 combat force has had as well.
As the former head of ACC, General Hostage put the challenge of understanding the dynamics of change:
Question: The last time we met, we learned that you had become the first ACC Commander to actually fly the F-22. We were impressed. From your perspective, how will the challenge of working the F-22s and the F-35s be worked with the legacy fleet?
General Hostage: You mean the Re-norming air operations if I were to steal a term?
Well, I was fortunate to fly the airplane, I learned what I didn’t know.
I was writing war plans in my previous job as a three star using the F-22s in a manner that was not going to get the most out of them that I could’ve because I didn’t truly understand the radical difference that the fifth gen could bring.
People focus on stealth as the determining factor or delineator of the fifth generation, it isn’t, it’s fusion. Fusion is what makes that platform so fundamentally different than anything else. And that’s why if anybody tries to tell you hey, I got a 4.5 airplane, a 4.8 airplane, don’t believe them. All that they’re talking about is RCS (Radar Cross Section).
Fusion is the fundamental delineator.
And you’re not going to put fusion into a fourth gen airplane because their avionic suites are not set up to be a fused platform. And fusion changes how you use the platform.
What I figured out is I would tell my Raptors, I don’t want a single airplane firing a single piece of ordinance until every other fourth gen airplane is Winchester. Because the SA right now that the fifth gen has is such a leveraging capability that I want my tactics set up to where my fourth gen expend their ordinance using the SA that the fifth gen provides, the fifth gen could then mop up, and then protect everybody coming in the next wave.
It’s radically changing how we fight on the battlefield.
We are fundamentally changing the tactical battlefield. How a tactical platform operates with the fusion of fifth gen.
What the aviators do is fundamentally different in a fifth gen platform versus fourth gen in the tactical fight.
Lt. Col. Berke, the USMC F-22, F-35 and legacy pilot and squadron commander. has put the transition in clear and blunt terms:
Berke described the challenge he faced going from being a very successful pilot in 4th generation aircraft to confronting the disruptive change associated with fifth generation.
He faced a situation where pilots with much, much, much less experience than he had were able to excel against him as he brought fourth generation mindsets to the F-22.
I showed up with guys about half my experience, who were just annihilating me in the airplane.
They just understood things way better than I did.
It was a very difficult transition for me.
So much of what you knew as a pilot didn’t apply.
It was very frustrating to make fourth generation decisions – my Hornet brain – inside an F-22.
A lot of those times, if not most of the times, those decisions proved to be wrong.
One might note, given the high cost of pilot training and the key role of the combat pilots in the air combat force that learning to fly yesterday’s airplanes creates a mind set that actually can undercut the capabilities to use 5th generation aircraft such as the F-35 effectively.
It is not just about wasting time, effort and resources; it is about undercutting the speed with which the F-35 can have an impact upon the combat force.
When he was able to grasp how to think differently as a combat pilot in the F-22, he recovered his ability to perform combat dominance.
You have so much more to offer the three-dimensional world than you did prior to really figuring it out.
When you realize that your contribution to air warfare is about that, and you’re doing it much better than you can in any other platform, you start to recognize your contribution on war fighting as a Fifth Gen aviator.
And what made the F-22 different suggests how the F-35 is different.
The F-22 is a very fast and maneuverable aircraft, but that is not where it excels.
It is an information dominant aircraft, a characteristic that the F-35 takes to another level.
“The F-22 is the fastest, the most powerful fighter ever built.
The least impressive thing about the Raptor is how fast it is, and it is really fast.
The least impressive thing about the Raptor is its speed and maneuverability.
It is its ability to master the battlespace is where it is most impressive.”
Rather than focus on speed is life and more is better, the Raptor has started the rupture in air combat whereby information dominance in the battlespace is the key discriminator.
Berke believes that the replacement mentality really gets in the way of understanding the air combat revolution that fifth generation capabilities have introduced and that will accelerate with the F-35 global fleet.
He argues for the need really to accelerate the leap into fifth generation-enabled combat forces for the US and its allies.
The video below which shows the F-22s coming to Europe has been created from a series of USAF released videos, thereby showing the range of activities to deploy the aircraft from Florida to Germany.
This first-ever F-22 training deployment to Europe is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, and provides support to bolster the security of our NATO Allies and partners in Europe.
The F-22s and Airmen are from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
The C-17 is from the 60th Airlift Wing, Travis AFB, Cailf.