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Thunder Aircraft begin arriving at Kentucky Air National Guard

Two Air Force F-22 Raptors taxi on the flightline of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 16. The aircraft are assigned to the USAF Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and will participate in the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Capt. Dale Greer.)

Two Air Force F-22 Raptors taxi on the flightline of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 16. The aircraft are assigned to the USAF Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and will participate in the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Capt. Dale Greer.)

A crew chief for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team chocks a Raptor's wheel April 16 on the flightline of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The team will be participating in the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Capt. Dale Greer.)

A crew chief for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team chocks a Raptor's wheel April 16 on the flightline of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The team will be participating in the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Capt. Dale Greer.)

An F-15 Eagle flies over the Kentucky Air National Guard flightline on April 17.  Many planes were assembled at the Kentucky Air Guard on Thursday and Friday in preparation for this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An F-15 Eagle flies over the Kentucky Air National Guard flightline on April 17. Many planes were assembled at the Kentucky Air Guard on Thursday and Friday in preparation for this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An F-4 Phantom sits on the flightline at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16.  The F-4 demo team, based at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An F-4 Phantom sits on the flightline at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16. The F-4 demo team, based at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

A F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Viper East Demo Team arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16.  The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

A F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Viper East Demo Team arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16. The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Viper East F-16 Demo Team button up an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16. The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show.(USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

Members of the U.S. Air Force Viper East F-16 Demo Team button up an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16. The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show.(USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

Senior Airman Austin Griggs of the U.S. Air Force Viper East F-16 Demo Team conducts a post-flight check of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16.  The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

Senior Airman Austin Griggs of the U.S. Air Force Viper East F-16 Demo Team conducts a post-flight check of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on April 16. The demo team, based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will be participating in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 taxis on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard base as it prepares to do a practice run for the Thunder Over Louisville air show.  (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd II)

A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 taxis on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard base as it prepares to do a practice run for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd II)

An F-18 Hornet taxis on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard base as it prepares to practice aerobatics for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

An F-18 Hornet taxis on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard base as it prepares to practice aerobatics for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Byrd.)

The tail art on this F-15 Eagle advertises it Louisiana Air National Guard hertiage.  Four of the unit's F-15s will be flying in the Thunder Over Louisville air show on Saturday, April 18. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)
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The tail art on this F-15 Eagle advertises it Louisiana Air National Guard hertiage. Four of the unit's F-15s will be flying in the Thunder Over Louisville air show on Saturday, April 18. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing, stands ready to welcome Maj. Gen. Henry "Hank" Morrow to the Kentucky Air Guard flightline on April 17.  General Morrow, commander of 1st Air Force and the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, is in town for this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville airshow. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)
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Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing, stands ready to welcome Maj. Gen. Henry "Hank" Morrow to the Kentucky Air Guard flightline on April 17. General Morrow, commander of 1st Air Force and the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, is in town for this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville airshow. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An F-15 sits on the flightline at the Kentucky Air National Guard. The F-15 is here for the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)
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An F-15 sits on the flightline at the Kentucky Air National Guard. The F-15 is here for the Thunder Over Louisville Airshow on April 18. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An T-38 Talon taxis on the tarmac after it arrived at the Kentucky Air National Guard on April 18 for the Thunder Over Louisville air show.  (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)
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An T-38 Talon taxis on the tarmac after it arrived at the Kentucky Air National Guard on April 18 for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

An F-18 Hornet sits on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard. The F-18 will fly in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show.  (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)
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An F-18 Hornet sits on the tarmac at the Kentucky Air National Guard. The F-18 will fly in this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Phil Speck.)

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:


A-10 "Thunderbolt"

AC-130 gunship

B-52 "Stratofortress"

F-4 "Phantom"

C-130 "Hercules"

CV-22 "Osprey"

CH-46 "Sea Knight"

F-15 "Eagle"

F-16 "Fighting Falcon"

F-18 D "Hornet"

F-22 "Raptor" (Demo Team)

KC-10 "Extender"

T-1 "Jayhawk"

T-38 "Talon"