F-22 fighter jets ready for deployment
F-22 fighter jets known as the most expensive and advanced aircraft are ready for deployment at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
"What all of those do is allow us to go into highly contested air space and not be seen. We are able to track large tracks of ground or large distances, which provides air dominance over highly contested air space," said Lt. Col. Mark Ladtkow with the 199th Fighter Squadron.
"It's a stealth airplane so it's very hard to be seen by other enemy radar systems both form the ground and the air," said Lt. Col. Robert Jackson with the 19th Fighter Squadron.
For the first time in Hawaii on Saturday 14 of the jets took flight to the sky. The timing of the launch comes during political turmoil with North Korea reportedly just days away from a provocative missile test. Pilots of the jets said the ready to go Raptors will help increase the air forces capabilities to such threats.
"We are able to hold targets at risk anywhere in the world, and that's a unique capability that this airplane brings to the table," said Lt. Col. Jackson.
"We are now a fully operational unit and we have full combat capability," said Lt. Col. Ladtkow.
The pilots said they are confident they've got the jets that are head and shoulders above anything else to confront aggression.
Each aircraft costs about $147 million. There are twenty F-22 raptors housed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The Hawaii air National Guard and the Air Force share responsibility for flying and maintaining the F-22s.
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