Two American [F-22] fighter pilots who intercepted Syrian combat jets over northern Syria last week said they came within 2,000 feet of the planes without the Syrians aware they were being shadowed. ...
The F-22 is a stealth aircraft, and pilots are trained to avoid being seen by their adversaries. Commanders are considering more overt tactics in the future to send a message to the Syrians.
“From now on if it happens, it’s get out to where they can visually see us,” [wing commander BG] Corcoran said.
If the Syrians or Russians are going to shoot down one of our F-22s, they will need to be within visual distance. While the F-22 is a good dogfighter, it should really do the vast majority of its killing beyond visual range with long-range missiles to take advantage of seeing the enemy without being seen.
Stealth protects the plane from enemy radar. If the enemy pilots can see our F-22s, the enemy can shoot them down. That alone for the Russians would be worth the price of admission to the Syrian civil war.
File that knowledge bomb away, okay?
So perhaps when we want to send a message we could do the up-close intercepts with F-16s or F-15s. Who knows what kind of message Russia would like to send back.