UPDATE, 3:15 pm PST – Spokesmen for the US Air Force say the wreckage of the missing F-22 has been found. The pilot, still unaccounted for, has been trained in arctic survival.
According to a statement from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, “an Air Force F-22 assigned to the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, lost contact with air traffic control at 7:40 p.m. Alaska time yesterday while on a nighttime training mission. “
The statement goes on to say that “a search is underway and is being coordinated by the Alaska Air National Guard Rescue Coordination Center. HH-60 helicopters and an HC-130 are combing an area northeast of Cantwell, Alaska, the last known location of the aircraft.”
“Right now, our top priority is to try to bring the pilot home safely,” said Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing commander. “We will continue to search until we find our pilot. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this missing Airman.”
The name of the pilot is being withheld until his condition is determined, in keeping with Department of Defense policy.
The F 22 Raptor is a fifth generation fighter designed for multiple use scenarios. Using stealth technology and primarily produced for air to air attack, the F22 Raptor is also capable of ground attack, electronic warfare (disruption of the electromagnetic spectrum) and signals intelligence (intelligence gathering). There are 168 F 22 Raptors currently in service with a production total of 187 aircraft planned. Each single seat super sonic stealth fighter costs $143 million to produce. Funding for additional F22’s was not provided in the 2010 budget bill of either the House or Senate and a 2010 budget without funding for the F 22 was signed into law by President Obama in October of 2009.
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
Wikipedia: Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor