first published on October 14, 2018 by Will
Reports indicate that an unknown number of F-22 Raptors were damaged, possibly even destroyed, when Hurricane Michael pummeled Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
So one F-22 airframe has been spotted in a roofless hangar at Tyndall. Check out the upper left portion of this photo. No idea if this is flying airframe or a ground trainer or what, but it doesn't look good. More on Tyndall AFB's sad state here: https://t.co/JikiO65eny pic.twitter.com/GlvQ6hnJP7
— Tyler Rogoway (@Aviation_Intel) October 12, 2018
Hurricane Michael passed directly over Tyndall, demolishing it. Aerial footage and photographs showed damage and destruction to multiple hangars. Some of the images showed airframes of F-22 Raptors as well as multiple other aircraft types.
The actual number of damaged Raptors is yet unknown, and may be kept under wraps for reasons of national security, but some reports are suggesting as many as 21 of the F-22s were left on base to ride out the storm. That number is based on Tyndall’s fleet of 54 Raptors, of which only 33 were said to be evacuated before the storm hit.
The US capped off the total number of operational 5th generation stealth F-22 aircraft at only 187 units. So any loss of aircraft is significant, and if these projected numbers become substantiated, the loss would be bordering on catastrophic.
Realistically, many of the damaged aircraft will likely be repairable, but at an incredible cost. Again, the number of Raptors in existence is few, meaning any available parts will be in short supply, and future orders will take time to fulfill.