The F-22 is the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. Some might even say that this fighter jet is unmatched by any other combat jet. In this article, you’ll get to know the details about the most elite killing vehicle in the skies, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
1. AIRCRAFT FIRST FLIGHT
In 1981, the U.S. Air force had acknowledged the need for a new combat aircraft to replace the F-15, thus began the F-22 program. The goal of the F-22 program is to develop the next generation air superiority fighter. Then, after years of development with several hundred designers, team members, and engineers, the F-22 Raptor finally took its maiden flight on September 7, 1997.
Right after cruising the skies for the first time, the F-22’s lead designer Vinny Devino said, “The F-22 is flying. Everything else is now a target.” This statement showed us how confident they are in the capabilities of this aircraft. However, it took many years of tests and further developments before the U.S. Air force declared it operational in 2005, as stated on their website.
2. SUPERIOR FEATURES
To understand this fighter jet’s impact in combat, let’s take a look at the features that make the F-22 Raptor far superior to other fighter jets. First, the F-22 Raptor is a unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness. With low observable technologies, modern avionics, and efficient engines, no other military aircraft can match this air superiority fighter.
According to the Aviation Geeks blog, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor can soar 10 miles high and fly at supersonic speeds. This ability opens up the Raptor’s opportunity to penetrate the enemy airspace with its armament containing a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
3. EXPORT UNAVAILABILITY
A vehicle that shined in the U.S. Air Force during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the F-22 Raptor has never been an export weapon. However, in 1997, according to fighterjetsworld.com, the United States Government determined that the F-22 Raptor is not available for export to any foreign government, even those of close allies. The reason for this is that the U.S. Government was worried that if they had access to F-22’s technology, it would end up in the hands of China or Russia.
4. STEALTH MODE
Another amazing feature of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor that probably made this fighter jet the world’s most effective air superiority aircraft is its most high-tech and modern element, the stealth mode.
Being the world’s first 5th generation fighter jet, Lockheed Martin has incorporated the so-called ”5th Gen-Tech.” in this aircraft. One of which is the All-Aspect stealth mode, and according to militarymachine.com, it is perhaps the fighter jet’s most impressive attribute.
The F-22 achieves this by confusing enemy radar detection using Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology. The airframe design of this aircraft also helps with the stealth abilities of the F-22 making this aircraft the closest one we have for an invisible combat plane.
5. SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR
Another part of the fifth generation technology integrated into this aircraft is its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Link 16. Both are technologies used to scan and communicate data that were incredibly helpful during the F-22’s mission in the Middle East by gathering intelligence and providing air support. Then, its successful air-to-ground combat mission against ISIS was in 2014.
Furthermore, a great feature of this fighter plane is its engine. The F-22 uses a set of Pratt and Whitney F119 engines responsible for the Raptor’s maximum speed of Mach 2.25.
6. AIRCRAFT COMPARISON
We have said that no other aircraft can match the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, but that doesn’t mean we cannot compare this lethal jet. One of the most popular combat aircraft the Raptor gets matched up to is Russia’s 5th generation fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-57. Russia’s Su-57 is relatively similar to the F-22 Raptor, with both being a single-seat, twin-engine multirole air superiority fighter jet.
One is the planes’ maneuverability. The Su-57’s lower wing loading makes it a more maneuverable aircraft than the F-22. Another advantage of this Russian aircraft is its armament, as it can carry more weapons than the Raptor. However, when it comes to technological advancements, the F-22 is much better.
Sukhoi’s Sh-121 multifunctional integrated radio-electronic system (MIRES) and the 101KS “Atoll” electro-optical system were no match for the Raptor’s collection of 6 different integrated systems with full spherical infrared coverage for the F-22. Besides that, the F-22 fighter jet beats out the Su-57 when it comes to its stealth capabilities.
7. F-22 PRODUCTION
There are currently 183 operational raptors in the Air Force, and they will not be making any more. It’s because of the project’s criticism with a unit costing about 152 million USD. After proving the capabilities for being unmatched in the sky, the U.S. Military decided to shut down the F-22 production.
8. AIRCRAFT CRASH
Every aircraft is not a hundred percent to accidents, and the Lockheed F-22 Raptor is one of them. According to Wikipedia, the first-ever recorded accident was in 2004. It was a year before getting announced as an operational aircraft. The pilot safely ejected with an initial investigation showing that the incident resulted from an engine shutdown.
Following this accident is a deadly crash in 2009 and 2010. The investigations for both incidents showed that human error was the cause of the crash. Moreover, another aircraft crash happened in 2012 with damaged flight controls, but the pilot ejected safely. The most recent accident occurred just last May of 2020. The pilot ejected from the jet safely while there are no reports yet on the crash cause.
THESE ARE THE TOP 8 FACTS ABOUT THE LOCKHEED MARTIN F-22 RAPTOR. DO YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE? IF SO, VISIT OUR CHANNEL EVERLAST VALUE – BUILDERS TO WATCH MORE CONTENT LIKE THIS!
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