U.S. Air Force Probes F-22 Raptor Incident During Sentry Savannah Exercise

U.S. Air Force Probes F-22 Raptor Incident During Sentry Savannah Exercise
Source: Floridianaviator

On May 6, 2024, an incident involving a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor occurred at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport during the Sentry Savannah exercise.

The mishap took place around 11:30 a.m. local time, as reported by WSAV-TV. According to a spokesperson for the Georgia Air National Guard, the F-22 Raptor was participating in Sentry Savannah, the Air National Guard’s premier fourth and fifth-generation counter-air, large-force exercise.

Sentry Savannah, held annually at the Air Dominance Center, Savannah Air National Guard Base, Georgia, is one of the most significant events in the Air National Guard’s calendar.

An image posted on Reddit shows the F-22 sitting on the right-hand side of the fuselage with the canopy open suggesting the pilot was able to egress the aircraft without ejecting from the plane.

Here is another image of the mishap aircraft, taken by @Floridianaviator

It facilitates integrated training for fighter units across the country, focusing on tactics such as ground training, offensive/defensive counter-air missions, cruise missile defense, and weapon drop training on the range.

The F-22 involved in the incident is assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. While details surrounding the incident remain unclear, it is known that no injuries were reported, and the pilot was able to egress the aircraft safely, as indicated by an image posted on Reddit showing the F-22 with its canopy open.

Colonel Stephen Thomas, commander of the Air Dominance Center, expressed gratitude to the first responders and reassured that despite the mishap, Sentry Savannah would proceed as planned, showcasing the readiness and response capabilities of Air Force personnel. The incident is currently under investigation, a standard procedure following such occurrences.

This is not the first time an F-22 has been involved in an incident. The last reported mishap occurred in March 2022 when a landing gear collapse incident took place at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. With only 185 F-22s in service, each represents a crucial asset in the Air Force’s fleet, renowned for its stealth capabilities and advanced technology.

Sentry Savannah, featuring dozens of fighter jets and over 1,000 airmen, highlights aircraft readiness and operational capabilities. The showcase returned in 2023 after a five-year hiatus caused by a botched takeoff incident in 2018. Pilot error was determined to be at fault in that crash, leading to runway safety enhancements prior to this year’s event.

As investigations into the recent incident continue, the safety and preparedness of Air Force personnel remain paramount, ensuring the continued success of exercises like Sentry Savannah in enhancing national defense capabilities. Further updates on the incident will be provided as additional information becomes available.

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