That’s exactly where this photo is going. It shows one of the rarest and most capable military aircraft, an F-22 Raptor, as it soars toward the mildly cloudy skies over the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam at the beginning of August.
This particular plane belongs to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, and it made the trip over to Guam to take part in the Pacific Air Forces’ Dynamic Force Employment operation.
Although it doesn’t seem like it, because of a small portion of a hill that obstructs the runway, the plane is in the process of taking off from the base, showing up at eye level (or camera level, to be accurate) in a manner one doesn’t get to see all that often.
The photo was made possible, of course, thanks to the geography of the region, and the rapid reaction of the one who took it, Master Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger.
The close up shows the sleek silhouette of a very mighty beast. The Raptor, introduced in 2005 as a potential replacement for the F-15 Eagle, was quick to exit the manufacturing scene (production stopped in 2011), but it still packs one of the mightiest punches in the sky.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines, it can reach speeds of Mach 2 (1,534 mph/2,469 kph), and can fly at altitudes of over 50,000 feet (15 km). The plane’s range is about 1,841 miles (2,962 km), and it can carry a number of deadly weapons in various configurations.