MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 conducted Dissimilar Air Combat Training against the 199th Fighter Squadron while aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii for Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014, July 2.
Rim of the Pacific is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet and provides realistic training that increases participants’ abilities to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations.
The 199th Fighter Squadron is with the Hawaii National Guard 154th Wing based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
The DACT training included the F/A-18C Hornet, used by VMFA-122 and the F-22 Raptor, used by the 199th.
“For any pilot, you often train more with the same type, model and series of aircraft your unit uses, so it’s a valuable opportunity to train with another service and another aircraft,” said Marine Capt. Cody P. Buras, a pilot with VMFA-122. “You get to see its capabilities and limitations and really test your own aircraft, which is something you can’t really get when fighting the same aircraft you fly.”
The Raptor, a fifth generation aircraft, is a combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, which represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities, according to www.154wg.ang.af.mil.
“You hear a lot of stories about the Raptor and about their capabilities; to see it perform was pretty cool,” said Marine Capt. Christopher Collins, a pilot with VMFA-122. “It was great as a fourth generation pilot to perform on a fifth generation platform.”
Although it was a fourth generation aircraft, those manufactured during the 1970s and 1980s, against a fifth generation aircraft, those made from 2005 until the present, Buras believes the F/A-18 held its own during the training.
“I think we did fairly well, which is pretty good considering the capabilities of the F-22 and never having fought an aircraft of that level before,” said Buras.
According to Collins, the capabilities of an aircraft can only go so far and in the end, it’s the man in the machine that matters most.
“There are some great pilots in the F-22 community,” said Collins. “I was impressed, to say the least. It’s great to know the Air Force trains their pilots to a high standard and are flying a really great aircraft, but so are we.”