F-22 Demo Team: “Cold War” Relic or Cutting Edge Air Superiority?


06/15/2017: The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs on the second day of the Wings Over Wayne Air Show 2017 on May 21st at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.



4th Fighter Wing

But what they were demonstrating was considered by the preivious president a “cold war” relic following in the footsteps of that “bipartisan” leader Secretary Gates and the Senate leadership of John McCain.

Well in this case we do not have to wait very long for history to show the quality of this type of leadership.

The F-22 has been a key element in Middle East operations.

And indeed cutting edge Air Force equipment has across the board provided significant options for the combat force.

Unfortunately, for the USAF, two of these cutting edge systems are flown by allies, not the USAF, namely the KC-30A tanker and the Wedgetail E-7 aircraft.

And in remembering the cutting edge Obama-Gates-McCain leadership, I am sure someday the USAF will receive their new tankers from Boeing.

In any case, one F-22 pilot in talking with an Av Week reporter made it clear that the F-22 was playing a key role in operations over Syria.

The pilot indicated that the aircraft was playing a range of multi-mission roles, including air deconfliction.

The F-22 provided a crucial communications node when tensions between the U.S. and Russia were running high. Following the Tomahawk strikes, Moscow condemned the attack and suspended the so-called “deconfliction line” the two countries used to coordinate air operations over Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump said relations with Russia were at an “all-time low.” 

But U.S. and noncoalition aircraft were still communicating directly, over an internationally recognized, unsecure frequency often used for emergencies known as “Guard,”  says Shell. His F-22s acted as a kind of quarterback, using high-fidelity sensors to determine the positions of all the actors on the battlefield, directing noncoalition aircraft where to fly and asking them over the Guard frequency to move out of the way. 

The Raptors were able to fly in contested areas, in range of surface-to-air missile systems and fighters, without the noncoalition players knowing their exact positions, Shell says. This allowed them to establish air superiority—giving noncoalition forces freedom of movement in the air and on the ground—and a credible deterrent. 


And as one commentator on the article put it nicely:

“Deconflicting?” Is that the new politcally-correct word for “Scaring the blazes out of your adversaries?”

And as far as the KC-30A, here it is at the Avalon Air Show 2017, and here is the Wedgetail at Red Flag 17-1.