A Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor, operated by the 43rd Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Hornets’ – a part of the 325th Fighter Wing (FW) – crashed near Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, on May 15.
The incident occurred at approximately 0915hrs (local time/CDT), 12 miles northwest of the main base on a test and training range. At the time, the Raptor was flying a routine training flight. The pilot – who was not named – safely ejected from the aircraft and was transferred to the 96th Medical Group hospital for evaluation and is currently in a stable condition.
A press release from Eglin AFB added that “there was no loss of life or civilian property damage related to the accident.” The USAF is now investigating the cause of the incident.
The fifth-generation air superiority stealth fighter entered service with the USAF in 2002. Of the 195 examples delivered, the air arm currently operates 184 aircraft – four of which have been withdrawn from service and two are in storage. This latest incident is the fifth Raptor to be lost to attrition since 2004.
The 43rd FS has been temporarily located at Eglin since Hurricane Michael devastated its home station at nearby Tyndall AFB, Florida, in October 2018. It acts as the Formal Training Unit (FTU) for the Raptor, and is expected to formally relocate north to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, once a base impact study has been completed.