Watch an F-22 Thread the Mach Loop — Low, Fast and Loud

Stealth fighter digs down into the weeds

by DAVID AXE

In west-central Wales there’s a famous U.K. military air training range — technically, Low Flying Area 7 — that’s known as the Machynlleth Loop.

Or, more colloquially, the Mach Loop.

Training to fly low and fast in order to penetrate enemy air defenses, U.K., U.S. and allied warplanes wind through the Mach Loop’s valleys at high speed, affording unrivaled photo ops to any civilian plane-spotters crouching on the hilltops overlooking the Loop.

The most frequent visitors are Royal Air Force Tornado, Typhoon and Hawk fast jets and Hercules transports. U.S. Air Force F-15Es from the United Kingdom-based 48th Fighter Wing also make regular appearances.

And now there’s a new guest star—a USAF F-22 Raptor stealth fighter from the 95th Fighter Squadron based at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The 95th Fighter Squadron sent four F-22s to Europe in April as part of the Pentagon’s effort to bolster NATO defenses amid increased tensions with Russia. F-22s deployed to Europe for the first time in late 2015.

An F-22 ran the Mach Loop in mid-April — and videographer “Elwyn R.” was there to document it. It’s just training, of course, but the Raptor’s impressive performance among the mountains and valleys proves that it can fight low as well as high.

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