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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(About Friggin' Time...) The F-22 Raptor Sees First Combat in the Middle East!

I used to have this issue of POPULAR MECHANICS magazine... Actually, I think I still do.

Just thought I'd share these photos of America's most high-tech fighter jet in honor of it taking part in airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Syria yesterday. Having been operational since 2005, the F-22 Raptor spent almost a decade facing controversy due to its $67 billion price tag...and being grounded after pilots frequently lost consciousness in flight because of faulty oxygen generation systems aboard the Raptor. Also, the F-22 was relegated to only seeing cinematic combat in Marvel comic book flicks like Hulk and Iron Man...as well as playing the Decepticon named Starscream in Michael Bay's first three Transformers movies. Oh, and the F-22 has been serving as an interceptor...scaring off an Iranian fighter jet that followed a U.S. drone flying in international airspace in 2013, and escorting Russian military aircraft that veered close to the Alaskan coastline a few times this year. Not to sound like a warmonger (okay, I am), but here's hoping that the Raptor will enjoy more action in the ongoing conflict against ISIS. Seeing the F-22 finally strut its stuff in combat will make it come a long way since competing against Northrop's YF-23 to become America's sole Advanced Tactical Fighter more than 20 years ago. U.S. air power rules!

A squad of F-22 Raptors fly over Alaska.
U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

A squad of F-22 Raptors soar in the wild blue yonder.
U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller

An F-22 Raptor fires flares while in flight.
U.S. Air Force

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