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F-22 training unit to move to Langley-Eustis AFB, Va.

The U.S. Air Force announced that the Formal Training Unit for the F-22 Raptor fighter plane will be relocated to Langley-Eustis Air Force Base, Va. Photo by TSgt. Ben Bloker/U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Air Force announced that the Formal Training Unit for the F-22 Raptor fighter plane will be relocated to Langley-Eustis Air Force Base, Va. Photo by TSgt. Ben Bloker/U.S. Air Force

June 28 (UPI) -- The Formal Training Unit of F-22 Raptor fighter planes will be moved to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., the Air Force announced.

The U.S. Congress was informed that an environmental analysis was completed, and a record of decision was submitted for relocation of the FTU.

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The base is the home of the 1st Fighter Wing of F-22 combat planes.

The training unit is an element of the Air Force 325th Fighter Wing, and was housed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., until the base sustained heavy damage in a 2018 hurricane.

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The FTU was then transferred, temporarily, to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

"Consolidating the F-22 fleet at Joint Base Langley-Eustis would make use of existing force structure, which would increase aircraft availability and shorten training timelines," an Air Force statement on Friday said.

"This, in turn, would improve pilot production rates and readiness," Air Force officials said in the statement.

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The transfer will bring at least 31 F-22 planes, and 16 other training aircraft, to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, as well as about 700 military and civilian personnel and 1,600 dependents.

The plane, used exclusively by the United States, is a stealth tactical fighter aircraft, designed as an air superiority fighter plane but with ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities.

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Nearly 200 have been produced since it began service in 2005. Still under consideration, however, is the number of F-22s the Air Force intends to maintain in its fleet and for how long.

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Last month, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Brown said the Air Force is considering a "four-plus-one" model, down from its current use of seven fighter plane fleets.

Brown referred to the "four" as the F-35 Lightning II, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-15EX Eagle II and the plane to be derived from the Next Generation Air Dominance program.

Assuming that the A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" is the plus-one to which Brown referred, the fate of the F-22 and the F-15E Strike Eagle remains in jeopardy.

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