Home Air US F-22 Raptors operating out of Mariana Islands for first time

US F-22 Raptors operating out of Mariana Islands for first time

F-35 n Northern Mariana Islands
An F-22A Raptor from 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron departs from Kadena Air Base, Japan, for Agile Reaper 23-1. Photo: US Air Force

US Air Force F-22 Raptors will be flying from the Northern Mariana Islands for the first time ever as part of exercise Agile Reaper 23-1.

The 3rd Air Expeditionary Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, kicked off the exercise in Guam and Tinian on March 1.

AR 23-1 is the 3rd AEW’s effort to exercise agile combat employment, rehearse capabilities in an operationally relevant environment and to provide air dominance, global mobility and command and control in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Agile Reaper shows how the 3rd Wing and 673d Air Base Wing are taking action in exercising our capabilities and providing combat ready forces to this region,” said Lt. Gen. David Nahom, commander, Alaskan North American Defense Region, Alaskan Command, and the Eleventh Air Force. “Strategic movement into and throughout the INDO-PACOM region requires a well-defended strategic location – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The work our 3rd Wing is putting in to exercise in an operationally relevant environment will make us more capable and ready to defend our homeland.”

Throughout the weeklong exercise, F-22 Raptors assigned to the 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, will fly sorties from locations within the Northern Mariana Islands in a first for the aircraft.

“This is the first time F-22s have ever been on this island,” said Jammer, the 525th EFS commander. “As we go through these training scenarios, we’re collecting data and establishing tactics, techniques and procedures to further inform how we as a force fly, fight and win in a modern, contested environment.”

ACE exercises like AR 23-1 train airmen to operate from different locations with varying levels of capacity and support to emphasize the ability to deploy, survive, operate, maneuver, sustain and regenerate.

During this exercise, maintenance personnel and aircrew operate out of Tinian while airlift and refueling aircraft support operations from Andersen Air Force Base and Kadena AB.

“Our main objective with Agile Reaper is to test our expeditionary skills in an operationally relevant environment. I want our team as close to a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment as possible,” said Col. Kevin “Jinx” Jamieson, commander, 3rd Air Expeditionary Wing. “I’m incredibly humbled at how much we’ve accomplished so far. This exercise will help us practice and validate new ways to project combat ready forces to this region.”

“To move aircraft and personnel from JBER Alaska to Guam and Tinian requires a huge team effort,” said Jamieson. “Our partnerships with the 673rd Air Base Wing, 176th Wing, and 477th Fighter Group at JBER, working the air refueling support from Fairchild’s 92d Air Refueling Wing, 18th Wing, our 36th Wing hosts here in Guam, our 525th Fighter Squadron F-22s coming from Kadena, mobility airlift support from the 15th Wing in Hawaii and the 613th Air Operations Center…this is a monumental task made possible through strong relationships.”