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Keith McCord ReportingHill Air Force Base is taking part in testing the military's newest fighter jet--the FA-22. The new jet is based in Virginia, but for the next two weeks several of the jets will be put through rigorous training exercises here.
The main reason is because of Hill's proximity to the west desert training range. The pilots can take off from Hill and within minutes be firing live missiles and doing air-to-air combat training missions.
The FA-22 "Raptor" is the Air Force's newest high-tech jet fighter plane. Eventually it will replace the aging F-15. Each plane has a 120-million dollar price tag, they carry a variety of weapons, and can fly at 1,000 miles per hour. And with "stealth" capability, the planes can fly virtually undetected by the enemy.
While in Utah the "Raptor" will also be loaded up with GPS-guided bombs that will be fired at various targets out in the desert range. This training session is a chance for the pilots and support teams to hone their skills for wartime missions.
1st Lt. Elizabeth Kreft , Deputy Public Affairs Officer, 1ST Fighter Wing: "What's important is that we can come out here and get some prime training for our pilots and maintainers, and our intel personnel, our communications personnel. This isn't just the airplanes out here. We brought a package of people out here to practice an entire deployment scenario, and this is priceless training that we're getting out here."
The 27th Fighter Squadron is the first Air Force unit to train on the new FA-22. The plane is expected to be activated for full-time use in December.