F-22 Raptor

TypeStealth air superiority fighter
Country of originUnited States
ManufacturerLockheed Martin Aeronautics
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
First flight7 September 1997
Introduced15 December 2005
Produced1997-2011
Numbers built173 as of September 2011 (187 planned)
Unit costsUS$150 million (flyaway cost for FY2009)
Max speedAt altitude: Mach 2.25 (1,500 mph, 2,410 km/h)
Supercruise: Mach 1.82 (1,220 mph, 1,963 km/h)
Max rangeRange: >1,600 nmi (1,840 mi, 2,960 km) with 2 external fuel tanks
Combat radius: 410 nmi (with 100 nmi in supercruise) (471 mi, 759 km)
Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)
Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,812 m)
DimensionsLength: 62 ft 1 in (18.90 m)
Wingspan: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
Height: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
Wing area: 840 ft² (78.04 m²)
WeightEmpty weight: 43,430 lb (19,700 kg[6])
Loaded weight: 64,460 lb (29,300 kg[N 6])
Max takeoff weight: 83,500 lb (38,000 kg)
Powerplant2 × Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 Pitch Thrust vectoring turbofans
Dry thrust: 23,500 lb (104 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 35,000+ lb (156+ kN) each
ArmamentGuns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A2 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon in starboard wing root, 480 rounds

Air to air loadout:
6× AIM-120 AMRAAM
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder

Air to ground loadout:
2× AIM-120 AMRAAM and
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder for self-protection, and one of the following:
2× 1,000 lb (450 kg) JDAM or
8× 250 lb (110 kg) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs

Hardpoints: 4× under-wing pylon stations can be fitted to carry 600 US gallon drop tanks or weapons, each with a capacity of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg).
OperatorsUnited States

F-22 Raptor is a fifth generation of jet fighter aircraft which features single-seat, twin-engine and stealth technology. The aircraft is designed and developed by Lockheed Martin as the main contractor who is responsible for developing airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-2 while Boeing Defense, Space & Security as the program partner supplies the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.

The United States Air Force (USAF) views the F-22 an essential component of US tactical air power. The USAF also remarks that the aircraft is unparalleled by any existing or planned fighter as it was designed mainly as an air superiority fighter, but has more functions including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

Lockheed Martin states that the Raptor’s blend of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, coupled with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat abilities, helps it be the best fighter in the world currently.

Unfortunately, the high cost of the aircraft, the delays in possible rivals (the Russian and Chinese fifth-generation fighter programs) and the continuing development of the more versatile and cheaper F-35 led to end of F-22 production.

The Development of F-22 Raptor

The emerging threat of Soviet Su-27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum-class fighter aircraft led to the requirement for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) as a new air superiority fighter to replace the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon by the USAF in 1981.

The desired new aircraft would apply the new technologies in fighter design including composite materials, lightweight alloys, advanced flight-control systems, more powerful propulsion systems and stealth technology. A request for proposals (RFP) was released in July 1986, and two contractor teams, Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics and Northrop/McDonnell Douglas were selected on 31 October 1986 to carry out a 50-month demonstration phase, resulting in the flight test of two prototypes, the YF-22 and the YF-23.

On 23 April 1991, the YF-22 won the ATF competition. The rival YF-23 design was more stealthy and faster, but the YF-22 was more agile. The production F-22 model was revealed on 9 April 1997 at Lockheed Georgia Co., Marietta, Georgia. It s maiden flight was on 7 September 1997. The first production F-22 went into service on 7 January 2003.

The Design of F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor features dual afterburning Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans integrate pitch axis thrust vectoring, with a range of ±20 degrees. The maximum speed, without external weapons, is approximately Mach 1.82 in supercruise mode. With afterburners, it can reach more than Mach 2.0 (1,317 mph, 2,120 km/h).

The potential of airframes to stand up to both stress and heat is a key design factor, thus the F-22 employs many polymers; nonetheless, as several of the materials cause a significant health risk to personnel, technicians need protective equipment including eye protection, respirators and gloves to do the job on the aircraft.

The usage of internal weapons bays enables the aircraft to sustain a reasonably higher performance when carrying a heavy payload over many other aircraft as a result of a lack of drag from external stores. The F-22 is remarkably maneuverable, at both supersonic and subsonic speeds.

The Raptor’s thrust vectoring nozzles make it easy for the aircraft to turn tightly, and carry out incredibly high alpha (angle of attack) maneuvers such as the Herbst maneuver (or J-turn), Pugachev’s Cobra, and the Kulbit.

The F-22’s avionics consist of BAE Systems E&IS radar warning receiver (RWR) AN/ALR-94, AN/AAR 56 Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System) and the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The AN/ALR-94 is a passive receiver system to identify radar signals; made up of more than 30 antennas mixed into the wings and fuselage that give all around coverage.

The F-22’s stealth makes it possible for fighter to securely perform far closer to the battlefield. The F-22 is perfect for operating as a “mini-AWACS”, even so the radar is less powerful than specific platforms like the E-3 Sentry. The F-22 permits its pilot to select targets for cooperating F-15s and F-16s, and figure out if two friendly aircraft are aiming for the same aircraft.

The F-22 makes use of a glass cockpit with no analog flight instruments. A side-stick controller and two throttles are the main flight controls. The stick is force sensitive and has limited movement. The cockpit interior lighting is fully night-vision goggle compatible.

The Raptor has three internal weapons bays on the bottom and sides of the fuselage. It can bring six compressed carriage medium range missiles in the center bay and one short range missile in each of the two side bays. Four of the medium range missiles can be exchanged with two bomb racks that can each hold one medium-size bomb or four small diameter bombs.

The F-22 can also bring air-to-surface weapons such as bombs with Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance and the Small-Diameter Bomb, but cannot self-designate for laser-guided weapons. The Raptor has an M61A2 Vulcan 20 mm cannon in the right wing root.

While the F-22 typically bears its weapons internally, the wings include four hardpoints, each rated to handle 5, 000 lb (2, 300 kg). Each hardpoint has a pylon that can carry a removable 600 gallon fuel tank or a launcher holding two air-air missiles. Yet, the use of external stores has a detrimental effect on the F-22’s stealth, maneuverability and speed.

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