F-22 Raptor Demo Team to perform at Thunder Over Louisville
By Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 05, 2014
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team will perform at this year's Thunder Over Louisville Air Show, officials from the Kentucky Derby Festival announced Feb. 25.
The team will perform a single-ship demonstration of precision maneuvers to showcase the unique capabilities of the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter, according to the Air Force.
The F-22 is the second U.S. military act to be featured in the show, joining the Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team. Past Thunders have featured a wider range of U.S. military aircraft, but new budget restrictions have limited participation to top-tier acts like the F-22 and Blue Angels teams, festival organizers said.
"Thunder Over Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Festival have always enjoyed great support from all branches of military," said Mike Berry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, the two-week-long celebration that precedes the Kentucky Derby and kicks off each year with Thunder Over Louisville. "We're thrilled that more military will be able to participate in the 25th Thunder show, making it even more spectacular."
The Kentucky Air National Guard will again be providing hundreds of hours of support to Navy and Air Force aircraft flying in the event, as it has every year since military aircraft were added to Thunder in 1992.
The F-22 "Raptor" is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft and last performed at Thunder in 2012. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities, according to the Air Force.
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft, officials said.
Thunder Over Louisville is set for April 12. A full air show schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.