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Two detachments of F-22 Raptors are heading from their home bases to three-month deployments in the Pacific.
Twelve F-22 Raptors and crews from Langley Air Force Base, Va., are deploying to Kadena Air Base, Japan, and 14 are deploying from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
Six of the Raptors from Langley's 27th Fighter Squadron departed Wednesday, and another six left Thursday. After a brief stop-off at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, the Raptors will arrive at Kadena on Saturday and Sunday.
The Alaska Raptors, from the 90th Fighter Squadron, are leaving later: 12 will deploy in mid-January, and two head to Guam in early February.
About 275 airmen are deploying with each group of aircraft, according to a 13th Air Force spokesman.
"This deployment supports U.S. Pacific Command's theater security packages in the western Pacific," Maj. Sam Highley said in an e-mail. "These deployments demonstrate the continued U.S. commitment to fulfill its security responsibilities throughout the Pacific theater."
The deployed units will be called the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the 27th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit, the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the 90th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
On the Raptors' first deployment, in February 2007, the jets' Global Positioning System navigation avionics went haywire when the aircraft crossed the international dateline over the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft had to return to Hickam and were delayed five days while they waited for software updates to correct the problem.
That is not expected to be an issue this time, Highley said.