F-22s and F-35s Fly First Operational Integration Training Missions

This is what Air Force generals have envisioned for decades. Two sets of fifth generation fighters flew side-by-side earlier this month to practice offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction missions together over Florida out of Eglin Air Force Base.

It as the first time the F-35 and F-22 flew operational training missions together, Air Force officials said.

Both fighters have had a turbulent development and the F-35 is far from complete, but this was the vision. The F-35 and F-22 teaming up to combat a first world air force like China or Russia.

Air Force officials didn’t release many details from the training missions, but the photos sort of speak for themselves. Even the largest cynics of the program have to pause and consider the history of the two controversial stealth fighters flying training missions together.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • BlackOwl18E

    Even I will admit, those are some pretty cool photos…

    • Mark

      Well at least youn liked something about the program.

    • Kole

      Would have been cooler picture to see if the 22’s were integrating with Growler’s in multi-branch ECM training.

  • Dubro

    anyone know where i can get high resolution pics, especially the last one

  • Max

    These is something the US military has, the technology and also the high-tech equipments in each planes which other nations don’t have.

    • deadeye

      Death and destruction I love it and love to see it wish I could be part of the killing of people forigen and domestic.

  • Some Random Dude

    This is a great example of what so many people have been missing. We’re flying combat training missions and have close to 300 5th gen fighters between the F-22 and F35 while China and Russia are still developing their first few prototypes. They may cost a lot but I sleep better at night.

  • LPF

    I’m confused , one is expected to have 2000+ examples the other just over 200+ The point?

    If the numbers were even close but unless they reckon that an F22 is worth 20 F-35 in combat capability this is a pointless exercise, what can the F22 do that the F-35 can’t if they both reach maturation?

    • commenter

      F-22 is optimized as an air superiority fighter.

      F-35 is a more standard fighter/bomber like a F-16 or F-18.

      Recent conflicts have not required extensive anti-air capability, but have seen a lot of ground attack. Even if anti-air capacity is needed, the F-35 is capable of it. It’s just not the primary role.

      • t1oracle

        The F-35 will be shot out of the sky, but as far as dropping bombs go it’s fairly competent.

  • Pharsalus

    Does this matter apart from being a photo op? I mean, you could have a F16 and F18 flying next to each other. The only thing you’re proving is both planes can fly.

    Both planes have different missions and different systems. What’s the point?

    And for sleeping better at night, Random Dude… If the only threat to the US would be Chinese or Russian fighters or bombers come flying over Chicago, your comment would be understandable. I tend to worry much more over the education my kids get.

    PS. Now, BlackOwl… Never Surrender ;)

    • Mark

      The point is that we doubt the training was formation flying.

    • wpnexp

      F-16s and F-18s don’t share the same level of information as the F-22 and F-35 do. It is the information sharing that make these planes so much more powerful together.

  • rat

    The (roughly) 180 22s are woefully inadequate for the mission of air domination. Therefore, more likely than not, the USAF will use the 22 as a force multiplier for the 35 fleet. Much as is being done now with the 15 and 22 tactics the same will be true for the 22 and 35.

    • Captain Obvious

      The USAF has developed tactics where the F-22 compliments formations of other fighters in terms of using its radar or passive systems detections suites.

      What a lot of critics fail to understand about the F-22, it CAN DO A LOT, even if it’s not large numbers. You don’t need to send 4 F-22s into a 4v4 for example. You can do 2 F-22s & 2 F-15s and get the same result.

      • Ziv

        That is a point that a lot of people don’t understand. 2 F-22’s make a strike package of 12 F-15E’s a lot more potent, and teaming the two types of aircraft make the it much more likely that all the aircraft will make it home from a strike against a peer adversary.

  • Some Random Dude

    What confuses me is that everyone gives the F-35 and F-22 a bad rap because of the cost and supposed lack of capabilities. But know one seems to realize that much of these capabilities are classified. What we know is what is being told. Plus as far as the costs are concerned, lets face it we waste billions on much less important things, at least these help to protect us. In addition we assume that now that russia and china have alleged 5th gen fights that all of the sudden these are game changers. again we don’t even know the full capabilities of either of their fighters. Just because they look fancy and stealthy doesn’t mean anything. China is all about propaganda and disinformation and russia is less then truthful about things. My feelings are that while these planes may have had troubled beginnings we’re too far along to quit now and go back to the drawing board. These planes were designed to evolve over time as well. they may have limitations now but they will be addressed. I do think however that we should continue producing more F-22’s. They are a proven fighter and the US would be foolish not to produce more.

    • Gunther

      couldn’t agree more with your comments, complex aircraft yes, but when all is said and done, they will be game changers, why would china, russia, india all want their own stealth aircraft? the bugs will be worked out.

    • Christopher

      The problem with building more F-22’s is that the production line won’t be active until the start of 6th generation fighter testing.
      Better off buying an off the self interim fighter until a proper fly off can be made for the F-15 Eagle and Super Hornet replacements. Two things our military never does anymore.

    • edgy

      That’s really Some Random Doodle, Dude.

      Classified files contain mostly weaknesses, screwups and substandard performance areas.

      When was the last time a contractor delivered a better than promised product?


      • wpnexp

        Really, tell us all these weaknesses, screw-up… in those classifid files. I’m sure you know, and you don’t sound shy. Either spill the beans or stop wasting out time. We do know parts of the classified programs, like burning up enemy missile electronics, or causing enemy equipment to shut down using malicious code, we just don’t know the details. So, until you have something useful, stop being a weanie.

        • znut

          having worked a bit in the realm of acquisitions I can tell you for a fact that the military has a habit of classifying derogatory information about programs and lots of capabilities are classified, but so seem to be the true extent of cost overruns but someone above also said the F-22 was a proven fighter? To my knowledge it one and only use has been to drop bombs in Syria, a proven bomber may be?

        • Really

          Why don’t you give us your BS source for your BS hypes about the F-35 first. I have seen nothing but BS from you on these boards.

  • CharleyA

    So how did this dynamic duo stealthy communicate? They didn’t - because they cannot -without outside support. IFDL (F-22) and MADL (F-35) are not interoperable, which then requires the use of plain old radio. Link 16, although not stealthy either, is one-way wrt the F-22. Whatever committee designed these planes to work as an integrated force needs to held to account, but they’ve long-since retired (or moved into the contractor workforce.)

    • mule

      If they fly in a close enough formation, the pilots can use sign language. You don’t get stealthier than that!

    • Dragon029


    • Chris B

      for normal communication use a radio but they go stealthy they use an incrypted data link

    • The one armed man

      It’s called Chameleon developed by L3 Communications.

      • London Blue

        Sounds awfully like ” Shameliar developed by Liar 3 Communities.”

        • The one armed man

          Anything positive about the F-22 or F-35 is a lie cooked up by LM according to internet. I love it.

  • Don Bacon

    Baloney on DT’s Public Relations release unrelated to reality.

    -from AIN:
    Gen Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, also referenced the discrete nature of the F-35’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), telling journalists he is “professionally appalled” that the F-35 and the F-22 can’t even swap data, let alone network with non-stealthy, fourth-generation fighters and other assets.

    • Stan


  • Tony

    Now put them behind 5 F-15C’s and the enemy won’t even know what’s about to hit them.

  • jamesb

    Hurray!…. the Air Force gets what THEY want!
    Fast Burners!
    Let’m KEEP them…and the Nukes
    Give the rest BACK to the Army!

  • andy

    Wish we build more F22…

  • Mitch S.

    Looking at the two of them makes me again wonder what the F35 would have looked like had it been designed/built just for the AF and Navy (carrier) missions without the need to be adapted to STOVL.

    • ronaldo

      I’ve thought the same thing many times, but to be fair…imagine what the A model could do if the principal structures did not have to deal with carrier service !

      The penalty there is almost as costly to A performance, as the B model compromises are.

      • Mitch S.

        Remembering the F111?
        Then again there was the F4.

  • Mark


    Here is a good interview on how these planes will work.

  • HandCannons

    The F-22 and F-35 make the Chinese FC-31 look like a cheaply made toy. Despite all the snags in the stealth fighter and all the criticism about the program, I support the advances we are trying to make in an untested field. Go Merica!!!

    • Really

      I’m not aware that the Chinese FC-31 has crash landed on the runway or killed pilots with toxic air supply like the F-22; nor have I heard any financial, operational, technical, software and engine problems with the FC-31 similar to those experienced by the F-35.

      Would you care to give us the links that you have to credible sources and articles about problems with the Chinese FC-31? Please skip sites like CNN, Aviation Week, Janes and government funded think-tanks.

      • oblatt22

        he’s probably thinking of this

        or the famous chainsaw massacre http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread204970/…

        • Bigpapafi

          Everyone seems to be missing the boat. The Chinese will field 10 to 20 aircraft for each one we field. Force in numbers that won’t be overcome by simply technologically better aircraft will overcome which is why the F22 was envisioned as a control aircraft for a squad of robot or drone fighters. Specifically to overcome the numbers a China, India, or Russia could field. The F-35 has little chance of surviving a battle with true front line air superiority fighters. As for stealth it is becoming less effective with each technological improvement in radar and other sensors. Rain now makes the “birds” visible. We need electromagnetic pulse weapons such as long range air to air missiles.

          • London Blue

            Whatever aircraft or setup the US may use, China can do the same cheaper, faster, and in larger numbers. China has the wherewithal to field thousands of F-22 equivalents plus 30-50 times the number of drones in US arsenal, and China can do it a lot faster and at a fraction of the costs.

            The Pentagon should already know that China has far more electromagnetic pulse weapons and long range air-to-air missiles, ship-to-ship missiles, air-to-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, land-to-ship missiles etc etc than the US.

      • David

        Nor will you. China despite capitalistic leanings is still a communist country that doesn’t broadcast secrets.Would you care to give us links showing China’s successes in 5th generation aircraft design, production, and use… Yeah, that what I thought. To this point they have nothing to stand on. China can’t even design and build a successful engine. Where do you people come from?

        • hollander

          Are you trying to offer your thorough braining, crass ignorance and tremendous stupidity to the board as entertainment?

          Please don’t use words you don’t understand - words like “communist”, “capitalistic”, “broadcast”, “5th generation aircraft design” etc.

          No country, regardless of its political / economic doctrine, broadcasts its secrets. This is something that even 9 year olds should understand without much deliberation. Not you, apparently. Do the US, Canada, Britain, Japan, France, or Israel broadcast their secrets? If not, they must be labeled as communist states using your rubbish logic? right?

          And since according to you, China doesn’t broadcast secrets because it’s a communist state (thanks for the laugh), how the hell do you know what the country has actually developed in secret? You are not trying say that if you don’t know whether something exists then it doesn’t exists, are you?

          Please do us a favor, stop posting. Go back to junior high and work harder this time around.

  • James M

    In my view the electronics sets the aircraft apart in the world. Also, I am happy with the amount that the Air-force has purchased. Learn from this and let’s move on to something better than this which keeps the enemy off guard.

  • Rod

    I know they all have different roles but I would love to see a picture of the F-22, F-35 and B-2 together.

  • Curtis Conway

    Need to get some Marines out there working with the F-22s. They will most likely be coordinating with them the first in the Pacific.

  • Terry Wright

    Keep up the Good work

    • Really

      LOL. A few “Good work”s like these and you will have to donate your house to the government and sleep on the streets.

  • oblatt22

    The happiest people in the world today are the Chinese and Russians as they see the end of 50 years of American air dominance.

  • OldFedVet1941

    Sad to say and Thanks to the current Administration China and Russia have hacked all of our secrets. These Morons will never and are incapable of learning!

    • blight_weroasdfl

      Wow, I didn’t realize LM would turn off the firewalls with a Muslim presidency. /sarcasm

      So..2007? Darn that current administration!

      But let’s be honest with ourselves: opponents of the United States would have started sniffing for information the moment these programs were announced. Who in their right mind wouldn’t try? We’ve had serious espionage problems before.

      Noshir Gowadia, worked on the B-2. Charged with espionage in 2005. Should we ask questions about which administration this happened under? (Given B-2 work, the “current administration” at the time would have included Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr). Take your pick.

      Also: If LM fails to safeguard their own materials, why is it the White House’s fault? What ever happened to accountability?

  • blight_weroasdfl

    What are the alternatives? Another vaporware fighter program? Lipstick on legacy aircraft? We’re not in a good place.

  • Bigpapfi

    I see a bunch of gold plated bricks junks flying with a true fighter aircraft.

    Poor pilots and taxpayers!

  • Paul

    The strategy is to make the game so expensive no one else can play.

    • Angela Merkel

      and the country with the least ability to play is the one with tens of Trillions of liabilities, i.e., the USA.

  • Mark

    I detect someone spam liking/hating. From this morning till now posts that could be viewed infavor of the program all recieved 7 thumb downs while the post saying negative things about the F-35 all received 7 positive thumb ups. So either a glitch or someone is wanting to voice themselves.

    • The one armed man

      I think it might be a couple of guys.

  • bill

    The NAVY has flown sereral training missions with their latest FA18 Super Hornets out of Eglin AFB against F35 and against F22 out of Tyndall AFB.

    • The one armed man

      Got a source or little more info on that exercise?

  • RudyH

    Hey…..now they’re really flyin’….forward……some progress…..way better than training time wasted being parked…..

  • Steve

    The officials didn’t release any details of the “training mission”.

    “..but the photos speak for themselves” says the author.

    The photos say: “Pretty photo-op”. That two F-35s hare flying without hitting the ground is a story.

    In the decade before it was deployed, the F-22 starred in more Hollywood blockbusters than John Wayne. Perpetuating the myth that it was a viable and necessary aircraft.

    Neither of these billion-dollar boondoggles at taxpayer expense has proven worth the money.

    With a military budget 10x that of the next 20 Nations combines, we dont need these white elephants.

    Put the money into PTSD Treatment for all of our men and women that have been deployed in service to their country. Maybe peel some money off to send our leaders to diplomacy school, too and perhaps we can avoid some of these bloody deployments altogether.

    • London Blue

      Very true and well stated.

      It’s sad that there are too many ignorant militant cheerleaders on the side of the reckless US politicians, endlessly greedy Wall St banksters, blood thirsty murderous arms dealers who wouldn’t blink at killing hundreds of thousands of children to make some quick bucks.

  • arc5radio

    Good to see the F-22s were able
    to dodge all the parts falling off the F-35s safely.

    • London Blue

      LOL!!! Good one.

      I guess the F-22 pilots were breathing real oxygen instead of toxic fumes this time.

    • edgy

      The F-22 has got something falling off as well on every flight … portions of its toxic skin coating. Avoid eating outdoors if you know there are F-22s or F-35s flying around above your head.

  • Chief

    How long do you think they would last over China or Russia? The same applies for the Russian an Chinese fighters over America. Get a grip, fighters are a thing of the past.

  • Batch38

    WWII dog fights? against who? why?

  • Toni_M

    If the F22 is so awesome but prohibitively expensive, I would have produced a series with no stealth and it would still be at least on par with whatever was thrown at ’em, that way they would not be “hangar-queens”, maintenance would be standard and you could produce it in the thousands originally intended.
    Now… imagine a group of those stripped down F22 with one or two with full capability, nobody would know what hit them first…

    • Mark

      The 22 now uses same coating as the 35 so hanger queen not so much anymore.

  • Republocrate

    None of you know what you’re talking about. The F22 and F35 work just fine, The US sends out miss information, so all you arm chair pilots can keep spreading the bad info in you’re silly banter. Don’t ever under estimate our weapon systems,,, enough said..

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  • Taxpaying Public

    In addition to the previous comments made, the F-35 is aesthetically pleasing, but does not deliver for its price point. Its’ reliability is questionable and soon will be determined…