Air Force: F-22 flights surge
F-22 pilots and maintenance personnel from the active duty 3rd Wing and the Reserve 477th Fighter Group generated and flew nearly 90 sorties here June 11-12.
The increase in sorties is part of a surge or an increase in flying operations to test the maintenance and flying capability of Alaska’s Raptors.
“We need to train like we are going to fight and this is a capability that may be used in wartime,” said Col. David Piffarerio, 477th Fighter Group deputy commander and Reserve F-22 pilot. “Our pilots and maintainers have to be proficient in it.”
Surging simulates the operational pacing of wartime operations, which is higher than the standard training tempo. During the two-day period pilots and maintainers generated and flew 89 of the 92 sorties scheduled.
“We normally only surge in the summer when there is plenty of daylight,” said Lt. Col. Robert Davis, 525th Fighter Squadron commander. “We normally fly about 350 sorties per month, per squadron. If we continued the surge for a month, we would fly about 920 sorties.”
In order to fly that many sorties pilots and maintainers conducted hot pit refueling, a procedure performed in order to rapidly refuel the aircraft and allow it to complete a second sortie in a short amount of time.
During a hot pit refuel the pilot will stay in the cockpit with the jet running while the maintenance crews perform safety checks and refuel the aircraft allowing it to return to flight in minimum time.
“The F-22 sends an important strategic message of commitment to our partner nations around the world, as well as our potential adversaries,” said Davis. “Alaska is geographically strategic because we can deploy in any direction to project airpower throughout the Pacific and globally.”
*Editors note: Lt. Col. Robert Davis was the commander of the 525th Fighter Squadron during the surge but relinquished command to Lt. Col. Christopher Kretsinger during a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson held June14.