USAF F-22 Raptors fly alongside allied fighters over Poland

USAF F22 Poland NATO
USAF F-22 flies alongside Polish F-16s during a media flight over Poland.

Early August 2022, twelve LockheedMartin F-22A ‘Raptor’ aircraft of the US Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron landed at the 32nd Tactical Air Base, Łask, Poland (ICAO code: EPLK); to support the “NATO Air Shielding” operations.


The 90th Fighter Squadron, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, USA; ICAO code: PAED); has the nickname ‘Pair-O-Dice’, which can be seen in the patches. It is assigned to the 3d Operations Group, 3d Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Pacific Air Forces.

The 90th Fighter Squadron trains in the fighter missions of offensive counter-air (OCA), defensive counter-air (DCA) and suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), as well as strategic attack and interdiction.
The F-22s

Media flight at Łask AB

On Wednesday October 12th, 2022, a media flight was organized by the Polish Air Force, NATO Allied Air Command and Sławek ‘Hesja’ Krajniewski. A Polish CASA-295 was prepared for two media flights. On both flights, twelve photographers were tied to the floor of the plane wearing a harness. With 4 photographers on the first row, 4 photographers on the second row and 4 photographers on the last row.

During the morning flight, several aircraft showed up:

- 2 American F-22s, deployed at Łask AB
- 2 Polish F-16s, based at Łask AB
- 2 Polish Mig-29, based at Malbork AB
- 2 Italian Eurofighters, deployed at Malbork AB for an extended NATO Baltic Air Policing deployment

During 1,5 hour the various formations flew between Łask AB and the Bełchatów powerstation, whereby the Łask runway was overflown a few times. After the media flight an interview with the 90 FS squadron commander was possible.


Lt Col Michael B. Kendall (callsign ‘POPEYE’) told about the various the deployment to Poland and further temporary deployments to the ‘Viking Belt’ exercise in Norway and the 5th generation integration exercise at Leeuwarden AB in the Netherlands.

USAF deployments to Europe

Prior to the European F-22 deployment, LockheedMartin F-35A aircraft of the 158th FW were based for 3 months at Spangdahlem AB, Germany (ICAO code: ETAD).

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US Air Force announced that more 5th generation fighters (F-22, F-35) would move to Europe for longer term deployments (lasting several months).

USAFE’s ability to support and integrate with NATO’s air shielding missions continually hardens the alliance’s solidarity, collective resolve, and ability to adapt to a dynamic warfighting environment.

The Raptor is a critical component of the global strike Task Force, and designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances to defeat threats. A combination of sensor capability, integrated avionics, situational awareness, and weapons provides first-kill opportunity against threats.

The F-22 possesses a sophisticated sensor suite allowing the pilot to track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being detected. It cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft, making it a highly strategic platform to support NATO Air Shielding.

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

USAF F22 Poland NATO

Report by Joris van Boven and Alex van Noije

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