Airmen and F-22 Raptor fighters from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam returned recently from their first training deployment since the stealth jets began to arrive in Hawaii in 2010.
Hawaii Air National Guardsmen and active duty Air Force personnel, as well as four F-22 Raptor fighter jets, took part in the Air Force’s air-to-ground weapons evaluation program, known as Combat Hammer, at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Combat Hammer is used to evaluate the effectiveness of air-to-ground weapons systems, the Hawaii Air National Guard said. Inert (non-explosive) bombs were dropped in the exercise.
The two-week exercise from July 30 to Aug. 9 provided a number of firsts for the Hawaii Air National Guard. In addition to being the first training deployment for Hawaii’s F-22 Raptors, it was also the first time the Hawaii Air National Guard has trained in an air-to-ground capacity.
Combat Hammer took place over the Utah Test and Training Range.
The Hawaii Air National Guard, which flies and maintains the Raptors with the active duty Air Force, has 14 of the jets. More are expected to arrive in Hawaii in the near future to round out the squadron of 20.