F-16s Spar with Fighter of the Future
By Lt. Col. Dave Thoreson, 944th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 23, 2006
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Air Force Reserve F-16 pilots from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., who deployed to Nevada to fly their aircraft against the F/A-22 came away very impressed with the capability of the Air Force’s newest air-superiority fighter.
The F/A-22 Raptor air-superiority fighter combines stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and many other features enabling a first-look, first-shoot, first-kill capability that will provide continued air dominance for generations to come.
“If the Raptor is full up and doesn’t run out of missiles, there is no way to fight it,” said Lt. Col. Tom Harwood, 302nd Fighter Squadron commander. “You are literally a target, and that’s the end of it.”
Colonel Harwood headed up the deployment to Nellis AFB Dec. 12-17. He said “flying an F-16 against the F/A-22 Raptor was like flying a World War II P-51 against an F-16.” There might be rare instances where an F-16 might have a fleeting chance at a shot opportunity. Otherwise, the Raptor completely dominates the Fighting Falcon.
Even though the F-16 proved to be no match for the Raptor, Colonel Harwood said the deployment was a great experience. And his pilots didn’t do a bad job.
“We did very well,” he said. “When given an opportunity, we made the Raptor guys work pretty hard. They said we helped them learn some things about their jet.”
Colonel Harwood said the F/A-22 “makes big leaps in every technology important to fighter success in combat. It’s great to have it on our side. We’ll see some of these technologies migrate to other platforms, maybe even to our old ‘legacy’ F-16s.” «
(Lt. Col. Dave Thoreson, 944th Fighter Wing public affairs, Luke AFB)