KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. --
The first military aircraft to participate in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville airshow began arriving at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base today.
Two F-22 Raptors, America's premier fighter aircraft, taxied onto the tarmac here at 9 a.m. after departing from Langley Air Force Base, Va., earlier this morning.
The supersonic aircraft represents the absolute leading edge in warfighting capabilities because of its combination of stealth, speed, maneuverability and lethality, said Maj. Dave "Zeke" Skalicky, commander of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team.
Major Skalicky said he and other team members are looking forward to performing in Thunder, where they will have the chance to demonstrate some of the Raptor's state-of-the-art technology.
"The F-22 is an amazing aircraft," he said, "and we're excited about the opportunity to show its capabilities to the public."
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It was designed to maintain air dominance by defeating threats rapidly and at great distances, thus denying enemy access to other airborne and ground-based troops. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected aircraft, anywhere in the world.
Other military aircraft will be arriving at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base today and tomorrow, including the A-10 Thunderbolt, AC-130 Spectre, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet and T-38 Talon.
While the base is not open to the public during Thunder, the Kentucky Air Guard provides essential airshow support behind the scenes, officials said. Kentucky Airmen are, for example, providing logistical coordination, aircraft refueling and security, among other resources.
"Thunder Over Louisville is a great opportunity for the public to see America's unparalleled military aircraft in action, but it's also an opportunity to honor the contributions of the men and women who serve in our nation's armed forces," said Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing. "We're pleased to play a key role in making this event happen, year after year."
See more photos here.
Fact Sheets for Thunder Aircraft:
CH-46 "Sea Knight"
F-16 "Fighting Falcon"
F-18 D "Hornet"
F-22 "Raptor" (Demo Team)