On Saturday Aug. 27, 2022 the Slovak International Air Fest hosted two USAF F-22 Raptor stealth fighters from 90th Fighter Squadron of 3rd Wing.
On Saturday Aug. 27, 2022 the relatively small regional Slovak International Air Festival hosted one of the most special guests it ever had. On both dynamic and static presentations, the US Air Force (USAF) sent a pair of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters from 90th Fighter Squadron of the 3rd Wing.
The two jets arrived at noon. Visitors of the airshow saw the aircraft flying capabilities in few overflights over the airstrip, after which both aircraft landed for the static display. The aircraft were stationed only 10 metres away from visitors, being much closer than during their last presentation in Germany (where visitors had to keep distance of 20 metres).
Both pilots (Meteor Meador and Swiss Ritschard) were ‚hot objects‘ for both various TV crews and the visitors. The pilots even shook hands with them. Meanwhile the aircraft were refuelled by CA-18 cistern trucks (built on Tatra 815 truck chassis). After few hours the Raptors took off and headed back to Poland.
The last two SIAF airshows were taking place on Kuchyňa AB, which serves as a homebase for 46th Transport Wing of Slovak Air Force. Kuchyňa is a relatively small airfield that now serves as one of the main service’s airbases, as the main – Sliač, is being under reconstruction, connected to the planned arrival of new F-16Vs.
As we have already explained, the Alaskan F-22s were forward deployed to the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Łask, Poland, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on Aug. 5 as a part of NATO Air Shielding mission over its eastern flank.
“This F-22 deployment will add significant capabilities to our support of NATO’s collective defense,” USAF Gen. James Hecker, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, and NATO Allied Air Command commander said in a service news release. “The Raptors ability to perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions will exponentially increase the warfighting capability along the eastern flank as this rotation supports NATO’s Air Shielding.”
The Air Shielding mission is designed to increase the air and missile defense posture along the eastern flank of NATO’s alliance and is purely a defensive mission to shield and protect allied territory and populations and is a key component of NATO’s Deterrence and Defense posture.
“Our Airmen are well trained and ready to assist our NATO allies,” Hecker said. “Our Airmen’s ability to adapt, support and integrate with NATO’s Air Shielding mission shows our ability to respond to an ever-changing dynamic warfighting environment and strengthen the alliance.”
Photo credit: Jaroslav Cabuk