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USAF wraps up F-22 tests in Middle East

  |   Dec. 22, 2009 at 4:54 PM
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. military wrapped up a war games exercise in the Middle East in the first deployment of the F-22A Raptor, the U.S. Air Force announced.

The U.S. Air Force deployed 150 service personnel from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia with six of its Raptors in the first test in the desert environment of the Middle East.

Lt. Col. Lance Pilch, the commander of the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, said U.S. Air Force officials were unsure how the fighter would perform in the region.

"But we were able to fly more sorties than we scheduled for, so the F-22 actually exceeded expectations," he said.

The U.S. military cooperated with British forces and the militaries of France, Jordan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates in the exercise.

The U.S. Defense Department in April halted new orders from the F-22 Raptor. The U.S. House and Senate both passed defense bills without funding the fighter in July, and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a defense authorization measure for 2010 with funding F-22 production.

The U.S. Air Force says the Raptor "cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft."

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