The 2013 Raytheon Trophy has been awarded to the 67th Fighter Squadron, an F-15C unit that is forward based in Okinawa. The award is supposed to highlight a fighter unit that exemplifies air-to-air combat excellence and it has been given out for sixty years. This is the sixth time the 67th FS has won the coveted award.
The 67th FS "Fighting Cocks" are considered the tip of America's "air combat spear" in the Pacific region, and has been so throughout the squadron's near 75 year existence. Being forward based to an area of the world where the DoD is now putting the majority of its strategic focus puts a bright spotlight on the Fighting Cocks and their sister squadron the 44th FS "Vampire Bats," who won the trophy last year. You can see their award video below.
The F-15C Eagle, an aircraft that a decade ago was thought to be in the twilight of its career, is once again the vanguard of American air to air prowess, along with its futuristic stablemate the F-22 Raptor. With a sizable fraction of the Eagle fleet equipped with the upgraded APG-63V3 AESA radar, a Raytheon product, the Eagle is remains an intrinsic part of America's ability to project power and gain air superiority over its potential enemies.
Some question if an F-22 and F-15 air dominance team can really ensure aerial supremacy well into the next decade, and rightfully so as near peer-state actors are slowly eroding America's technological air combat edge. Yet in the world of manned air combat, the difference between victory and death still partly comes down to who is in the cockpit, Raytheon thinks the Fighting Cocks exemplify this common denominator. It great to hear that the F-15 Eagle, an aircraft that remains undefeated in air combat to this very day, and its dedicated crews and ground support teams, are still showing their more technologically advanced stable mates how it is done.
Congrats to the the 67th FS for their accomplishment!
A big thanks to EagleDriver88 for sending this over to me!
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer that maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com