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Air Force Looks to Modify F-22 Trainer Aircraft for Combat Missions

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The U.S. Air Force (USAF) plans to reconfigure its Lockheed Martin-built F-22 Raptor fighter jets to support combat functionalities over the next few years, National Defense Magazine reported Monday.

Gen. James Holmes, commander of the Air Combat Command, told attendees at a recent Air Force Association teleconference that the service branch is looking into repurposing its F-22 squadron initially built to support training operations.

Holmes said the option to reconfigure the F-22s may help the service optimize its spending for aircraft while expanding its combat capacity. However, he noted that a shortage of engines for the F-22 aircraft may result in challenges for the planned modification.

“They're already combat capable even without bringing them up to the higher standard. I’d certainly pick one of those over some of our legacy airplanes, if I had to go fight," he said. "The primary problem [with the aircraft] is having enough engines to meet our requirements," Holmes added.