Air Force F-22s and B-2 bombers are prowling the Pacific to send a message - and the photos are stunning
Ryan PickrellJan 18, 2019, 03.44 AM
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019.U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Russ Scalf
The B-2 Spirit, a heavy bomber, and the F-22 Raptor, an unmatched air-superiority fighter, are stealth aircraft capable of slipping past enemy defenses to unleash a significant amount of firepower on enemy targets.
These two hard-hitting aircraft are training together in the Pacific, where China has sought to bolster its anti-access, area-denial capabilities to deter the US military.
The deployment to Hawaii is intended to reassure America's international partners while sending a warning to adversaries that "the B-2 is on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to protect our country and its allies."
The US Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft - the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor - training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the US brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the US has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.
Three B-2 bombers and 200 airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri deployed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Jan. 10 to support US Strategic Command's Bomber Task Force mission.
While B-2 bombers regularly rotate throughout the Pacific, having previously been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, the most recent deployment marks only the second time these powerful stealth aircraft have been sent to Hawaii to drill alongside the F-22s.
The stealth bombers were deployed to the Pacific to send a message to allies and adversaries alike, specifically that "the B-2 is on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to protect our country and its allies."
When the B-2s were first deployed to Hawaii last October, the US military stressed that the deployment highlighted the bomber's completely unmatched "strategic flexibility to project power from anywhere in the world."
The multi-role B-2 Spirit bomber has the ability to break through tough defenses, bringing a significant amount of firepower, both conventional and nuclear, to bear on enemy targets.
Despite its large size, the B-2's low-observable or stealth characteristics make it almost invisible to enemy radars, allowing it to slip past enemy defenses and put valuable targets at risk.
The F-22 Raptor, an elite air-superiority fighter, which the Air Force asserts "cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft," is an extremely lethal aircraft capable of performing air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions.
Both the B-2 Spirit and the F-22 raptor are stealth aircraft, and both have the ability to penetrate sophisticated air-defense systems, such as those that defend the Chinese mainland and the wall of surface-to-air missiles deployed in the South China Sea. China has been actively enhancing its anti-access, area-denial capabilities to keep the US military at arms length.
Together, a B-2 accompanied by a pair of F-22s could kick in an enemy's door, let loose a firestorm of devastation, and get out before the enemy figures out what happened.