F-22s: Waiting in the Wings. Again.

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Air Force / Senior Airman Garrett Hothan

An F-22 scrapes the setting sun in Alaska

A flock of U.S. Air Force F-22 fighters has moved to the United Arab Emirates, within striking distance of Iran. Perhaps we’ll finally see the Raptor prove its mettle, against Iran’s long-in-the-tooth F-14s, bought during the shah’s reign.

Or perhaps not. There also were six F-22s nearby – in the UAE, of all places — when the balloon went up over Libya last year.

“The F-22 squadron was made ready to deploy for Libya ops at least twice,” a senior military official told Battleland last year. But they were never ordered into action against the late Muammar Gaddafi.

The F-22s are air-dominance fighters, with scant ground-attack capability. So they’d only be used to keep enemy aircraft away from any ground-pounders sent in to try to reduce suspected Iranian nuclear sites to rubble.