USAF F-22 Raptor, the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world

USAF’s F-22 Raptor is the 5th-generation, super maneuverable, stealth, tactical fighter aircraft.
Raptor is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It is the air superiority jet in the United States Air
Force.
The F-22 Rapotor has unmatched capabilities and it defines air dominance. The Raptor is the blend of
speed, stealth, agility when combined with lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-surface
weaponry makes it the best fighter jet in the world.

Usaf’s F-22 Raptor-Raptor capabilities:

The Usaf’s F-22 Raptor is an American twin-engine, single-seat fighter aircraft with advanced signal
intelligence, electronic warfare, and ground attack capabilities. The aircraft defines precision
attack characteristics.
The aircraft can overthrow any air and ground base threats with unparalleled survivability and
lethality. The F-22 jet makes other friendly aircraft more survivable by collecting and sharing
tactical and sensitive information and helps them engage targets with excellent battlespace
awareness.

F-22 manufacturer details:

Most of the airframe and weapon systems were built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is
the United States aerospace, defense, and technology giant.
Other parts of Usaf’s F-22 Raptor include wings, aft fuselage, training systems, and avionics integration has
been made by Boeing. It is another American company. It is known to be the largest aerospace
company in the world. It is also the leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense,
space, and security systems.

The operational history of F-22:

The F-22 fighter jet came from the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program. The US Air Force
in 1981 started the program with the code name ‘Senior Sky’. Under this program, USAF wants
to build an advanced, air superiority aircraft platform due to emerging worldwide threats.
In the ATF program, USAF started designing and manufacturing a completely new aircraft using
advanced technologies including lightweight alloys, composite materials, advanced flight control
systems, powerful propulsion systems, and most significantly the stealth technology.
In 1997, the F-22 took its first flight to the skies and it was then inducted into the US Air Force in
2005 after years of testing and modifications.

Cost of F-22 Raptor:

Under the ATF program in 1998, the USAF has ordered 750 jets at a total cost of around $44
billion. The production of the jets was started in 1994.
Due to the increase in the cost of the program and funding instabilities, the number of fighter
aircraft has been reduced from 750 to 648 in 1990, to 339 in 1997, to 277 in 2003, and then
finally to 183 in 2004.
The American government in 2006, implemented the multi-year procurement plan for the
inducting and maintaining the F-22 fighter jets. The government saves $15 billion by
implementing the new plan. The 183 F-22s were allocated to seven combat squadrons. The US
Congress in 2008, has increased the number of aircraft to 187 by passing the defense spending
bill. The procurement of additional F-22s to the USAF was estimated at about $138 billion.
In 2011 the total program cost was $67.3 billion. While the total amount spent on Research,
Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) was $33.4 billion. And the $34.9 billion was
spent on procurement and military construction (MILCON).

F-22 weapons systems:

The Raptor has three internal weapons bays. One larger bay on the bottom while the two
smaller ones are on the side of the fuselage.
The larger weapons bay at the bottom can hold six LAU142/A launchers for
beyond-visual-range missiles, while each side bay can carry a single LAU-141/A launcher for
short-range missiles. Four of the launchers in the larger bay can be replaced with two bomb
racks, each can carry 450 kg bombs. Air-to-surface ordnance is limited to 910 kg.
One rotary cannon of type M61A2 Vulcan 20mm is integrated into the plane’s right-wing root. To
maintain stealth, the rotary cannon is covered with a retractable door.

Technologies integrated into F-22:

As the aircraft is of 5th-generation but its stealth technology is considered as 4th-generation by
the United States Air Force.
The first combat-ready F-22 was Block 3.0 software, which took flight in 2001. Upgrade of
software to 3.1 Block 30 provides the Raptor with improved ground-attack capability through
radio emitter direction finding and synthetic aperture radar mapping, electronic attack, and
smaller diameter bomb integration.
The increment to 3.2 software block provides aircraft with enhanced electronic warfare,
communication, and identification.
The fighter jet uses the BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node) as a gateway to
enable two-way communication with other platforms. The old Link-16 has been replaced with
Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Joint (MIDS-J). The Automatic Ground Collision

Avoidance System (GCAS) also integrated with the jet. The Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) program of
the F-22 fighter jet will start in 2024.
The aircraft uses the F-119-PW-100 dual Prat & Whitney’s augmented turbofan engines. It
incorporates pitch-axis thrust vectoring nozzles with a range of +20,-20 degrees. The fighter
aircraft maintains the speed of Mach 1.8 without using an afterburner, as the engines are
designed for supercruise. By using an afterburner, Raptor has a speed more than Mach 2.0.
The Raptor uses the sensor technology that includes General Electric An/ALR-94 electronic
warfare system, Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAR-56 MLD (infrared and ultraviolet Missile Launcher
Detector), and Texas Instruments AN/APG-77 AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar
with CNI (Communication/Navigation/Identification) suit.
AN/ALR-94, a passive radar detector, is the technologically most complex instrument system
used in aircraft. The system uses more than 30 antennas distributed into the wings and other
parts of the aircraft for all-around Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) coverage. It has a range of
more than 250+ nmi and alerts the pilot to release countermeasures if the jet gets tracked.
Overall it is an excellent fighter aircraft that brings air superiority into the USAF. But this
technology marvel came up with a high price tag and is also very difficult for even the USA to
maintain the small fleet of F-22 fighter jets.

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