Raptors Now Call Alamogordo Home
Ceremonies held at Holloman AFB, NM Friday marked the formal
beginning of operations for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor with
the United States Air Force's 49th Fighter Wing.
"The F-22 is the most advanced and capable fighter in the
world," said Larry Lawson, executive vice president and F-22
program general manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "Now it
stands ready at a key location in the United States, prepared to
defend America and our allies. The pilots of the 7th, 8th and 301st
Fighter Squadrons will fly a weapon system that has the
capabilities essential to dominate the air for the next three
The ceremony also marked what will likely be one of the last
official appearances by General T. Michael Moseley... who, as ANN reported, resigned
under pressure from his position as US Air Force Chief of Staff one
day earlier. Moseley (below) was a strong advocate for the advanced
fighter during his three-year tenure in the top commissioned role
at the USAF.
"Today we open another chapter in our long-term plan for
providing Air Force capabilities to the nation for meeting 21st
Century security threats," Moseley said. "As you know, this past
year we retired the last of our 59 F-117 Nighthawks that have
served our nation so well over the years."
The 49th Fighter Wing has made its mark in military aviation
history from World War II through every major military engagement.
The wing was most recently home to the F-117 stealth fighter, until
the last of those advanced aircraft were retired earlier this
A total of 183 production Raptors are currently on contract, and
119 aircraft have been delivered to the US Air Force. Lockheed
states the F-22 is the only aircraft that blends speed,
super-agility, stealth and sensor fusion into a single air
dominance platform. Raptors have been in operational service with
the US Air Force since December 2005.
Raptors are currently assigned to six US bases. Flight testing
takes place at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, CA.
Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, NV. Pilot
and crew chief training takes place at Tyndall AFB, FL.
Operational Raptors are assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at
Langley AFB, VA, the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and now the
49th Fighter Wing at Holloman, located near Alamogordo, NM. In the
future, Raptors will be based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.