The F-22 Mission in Afghanistan: Overkill or Realistic Training?

Three years ago, the F-22 Raptor made its combat debut in Syria.

The idea was for the fifth-generation fighter to use its stealth technology to evade detection from surface-to-air missile batteries in a contested region. But the Syrians apparently had no plans to fire on U.S. aircraft, at least before the Russians entered the battlespace. So the twin-engine aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air superiority took on a different role in the fight: serve as a high-altitude reconnaissance platform and major airborne command post.

Similarly, when the Raptor made its combat debut on Sunday in Afghanistan, the jet conducted a ground-attack mission, pummelling suspected drug labs in the…

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