5th Generation F-22 Raptor Fighter Jets’ return to European Skies

Beginning August, 2018, the United States Air Force deployed thirteen of its F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighter Jets to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany to conduct air training with other European Air Forces as part of a Flying Training Deployment.

The Stealth Fighters belong to the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Wing stationed at Tyndall AFB, Florida, and arrived in three flights to remain in Europe for several weeks. The deployment also included approximately 200 airmen and associated equipment airlifted by heavier cargo aircraft such as B-747s and C-17 Globemaster III’s.


The Raptors also forward-deployed for short periods of time to bases located in other NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Spain, Norway, Greece and Italy. Local support was provided by KC-135 tankers from the 100th ARW based at Mildenhall, UK, and C-130J Hercules of the 86thAW based at Ramstein, Germany.

The goal was to familiarize European partners with American F-22 tactics, techniques and procedures to make sure those allies know how to work with the Raptor during combat operations. The USAF’s forward presence in Europe allows training with U.S. allies and partners to develop and improve regional security.

07 Gen. Tod D. Wolters

“Their presence in the European theatre underscores our ability to deter current and potential threats, assure our allies, and respond in a timely way should deterrence fail”, Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander U.S. Air Forces Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa, said during a press conference held at Spangdahlem August 15th.

Other operations included missions  alongside locally-based Spangdahlem’s F-16CJs of the 480th Fighter Squadron ‘Warhawks’ and other jets such as German Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons and Netherlands Air Force F-16s.

“The F-22 and the F-35 are the world’s premier operational 5th-generation fighters, possessing a unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness along with lethal long-range, air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry, making these aircraft the best air dominance fighters in the world,” Wolters said.


I would like to thank the HQ of USAFE at Ramstein AB, the PAO of the 52nd FW and the people who accompanied us during our visit to Spangdahlem AB for the great support. Without all these people, this report wouldn’t be possible. Special thanks go to Mark Guenther for compiling this report and his assistance during my stay at Spangdahlem.

Peter Boschert

Peter is a photographer covering events in the United States and in Europe. He likes to cover Nellis AFB, NAS Fallon and RAF Lakenheath.

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