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The Air Force Has Sent Stealth F-22 Raptors to Qatar to Deter Iran

David Axe
(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

David Axe

Technology, Middle East

Very powerful.

The Air Force Has Sent Stealth F-22 Raptors to Qatar to Deter Iran

Since becoming operational in 2005, the F-22 has achieved roughly a 50-percent readiness rate, on average -- one of the lowest rates of all U.S. fighter types. The Raptor's complex systems and delicate, radar-absorbing coating require intensive maintenance.

The U.S. Air Force on June 27, 2019 deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters for the first time to Qatar as part of a build-up of forces ahead of a possible clash with Iran.

The Air Force did not specify how many F-22s traveled to Qatar. Photographers spotted 12 of the radar-evading jets with “FF” tailcodes indicating they belong to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

The F-22s could fly alongside stealthy F-35s that the Air Force deployed to the United Arab Emirates in April 2019.

(This first appeared in June 2019.)

Raptors previously flew from the UAE for missions over the Persian Gulf, Syria and Iraq. But a readiness crisis in March 2019 compelled the Air Force to return the F-22s to the United States.

Since becoming operational in 2005, the F-22 has achieved roughly a 50-percent readiness rate, on average -- one of the lowest rates of all U.S. fighter types. The Raptor's complex systems and delicate, radar-absorbing coating require intensive maintenance.

Hurricane Michael didn't help. The October 2018 storm devastated Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida's panhandle region. Tyndall at the time housed two squadrons together flying 55 F-22s.  the 43rd Fighter Squadron is a training unit. The 95th Fighter Squadron is a combat unit.

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