Satellite imagery of the devastation after Hurricane Michael | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in
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Multiple fighter jets of the US Air Force suffered damage as Hurricane Michael made landfall last week.

A major US Air Force base in Florida was devastated and fighter aircraft such as F-22A Raptors were damaged when Hurricane Michael, a category 4 storm, made landfall in Florida Panhandle on 10 October.

The storm hit the US states of Florida and Georgia with windspeeds of approximately 250 km/h.

Hurricane Michael hit the base at a speed of approximately 250 km/h | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in
Hurricane Michael hit the base at a speed of approximately 250 km/h | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in

The Tyndall Air Force Base is home to the 325th Fighter Wing (325 FW), which holds the F-22A Raptors. The base has at least five major units.

Images analysed by The Print show that the storm blew away roofs of hangars.

The damage left behind by the storm | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in
The damage left behind by the storm | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in

Satellite imagery made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an American scientific agency, indicates the extent of damage at the Tyndall Air Force Base.

The aircraft that were outside hangars could be flown away in time, but those inside remained in their dens without any chance of recovery.

Most of the hangars and other administrative and operational buildings have suffered massive damage.

 Tyndall Air Force Base after the damage | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in
Tyndall Air Force Base after the damage | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in

US Air Force says damage not devastating

The images suggest the roofs of most hangars have suffered total damage, and the structures below have collapsed, possibly causing enormous damage to aircraft and other equipment inside.

The exact number of aircraft damaged is difficult to assess from a single satellite image, but it is learned that at least 12 F-22A Raptor aircraft took a hit in the hurricane. The extent of damage, however, is not yet known.

Satellite imagery of the damage by the storm | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in
Satellite imagery of the damage by the storm | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in

The air force base has two fighter squadrons.

The 95th Fighter Squadron carries out combat missions to maintain territorial integrity and air sovereignty of the Continental US (CONUS). The 43rd Fighter Squadron flies training missions for F-22 Raptor pilots.

Damage caused by Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) /ThePrint.in

The US Air Force spokeswoman claimed the damage was significant but not devastating. She said the force remained capable of carrying out combat missions across the world with aircraft from other bases.

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  1. The costs of climate change are piling up. Forbiddingly high. Monumental folly for the United States to walk out of the Paris Accord.

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