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F-22 Raptor

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F-22
Type Stealth Air superiority fighter
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

Introduction 2005
Status Active: 91

Planned: 183

Number built 100 (as of September, 2007)
Cost At least $137.7 million

The F-22 is the finest piece of military engineering ever in the known universe after the mess-tin. To a pilot this is the most exciting thing to happen since that time when someone asked what he did for a living without being prompted. The Raptor is fast, sleek, has a satin paint-job, it's got two wobbly exhaust pipes, a radar with no moving parts, fluffy dice, twin cup holders and carbon fibre everything AND titanium. It's like a giant, super cool, super expensive golf club.

Everyone wants one, not because they need one, but because they know their neighbour doesn't have one yet and won't he be jealous. The Spams, however, won't let anyone have one, and quite bloody right too.

It is an American air superiority fighter aircraft that utilizes stealth technology. It is also equipped for ground attack, electronic warfare and signals intelligence roles as well. The F-22 is a critical component of the US Global Strike Task Force.

Faced with a protracted development period, the prototype aircraft was variously designated YF-22 and F/A-22 during the three years before formally entering United States Air Force service in December 2005, as the F-22A. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22. Along with Lockheed Martin, partner Boeing Integrated Defense Systems provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and all of the pilot and maintenance training systems.

Proposed Foreign Sales

Unlike many other tactical fighters, the opportunity for export is currently non-existent because the export sale of the F-22 is barred by federal law. There was a time in the 1970s when the then-new F-16 also had many restrictions. However, regardless of restrictions, very few allies would even be considered for export sale because the F-22 is such a sensitive and expensive system. Most current customers for US fighters are either acquiring earlier designs like the F-15, or F-16 or are waiting to acquire the F-35, which contains much of the F-22's technology but is designed to be cheaper and more flexible.

More recently Japan reportedly showed some interest in buying F-22As in its Replacement-Fighter program for its Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). In such an event, it would most likely involve a "watered-down" export variant while still retaining most of its advanced avionics and stealth characteristics. However, such a proposal would still need approval from the Pentagon, State Department and Congress.

Some Australian defense commentators have proposed that Australia purchase F-22 aircraft instead of the F-35. The Australian Labor Party, who currently form the majority government at Federal level, supports this proposal on the grounds that the F-22 is a proven, highly capable aircraft while the F-35 is still under development. The Former Australian Government under the Liberal Party's John Howard, however, ruled out the purchase of the F-22 as it is unlikely to be released for export and does not meet Australia's requirements for a strike aircraft. This assessment is supported by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; a non-partisan, government-funded think-tank; claiming the F-22 "has insufficient multi-role capability at too high a price" for Australia. The issue has largely disappeared from public attention following the election of Kevin Rudd, what with petrol prices and interest rates what they are.

Also in an exclusive interview, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze'ev Snir said that, "The IAF would be happy to equip itself with 24 F-22s but the problem at this time is the US refusal to sell the aircraft, and its $200 million price tag."

The US Congress upheld the ban on F-22 Raptor foreign sales during a joint conference on 27 September 2006. After talks in Washington in December 2006, the US DoD reported the F-22 would not be available for foreign sale.

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Specifications

  • General characteristics
    • Crew: 1
    • Length: 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)
    • Airfoil: NACA 64A?05.92 root, NACA 64A?04.29 tip
    • Empty weight: 31,700 lb (14,379 kg)
    • Loaded weight: 55,352 lb (25,107 kg)
    • Max takeoff weight: 80,000 lb (36,288 kg)
    • Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 Pitch "Thrust" vectoring turbofans, 35,000+ lb (156+ kN) each
  • Performance
    • Maximum speed: Mach 2+[1] (1,325+ mph, 2,132+ km/h) ; >Mach 2.42
    • Cruise speed: Mach 1.72[51] (1,140 mph, 1,825 km/h) supercruise at altitude
    • Combat radius: 410 nmi[51] (471 mi, 759 km)
    • Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)
    • Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,812 m)
    • Wing loading: 66 lb/ft² (322 kg/m²)
    • Thrust/weight: 1.26
    • Maximum g-load: -3.5/+9.5 g


Armament

  • Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A2 Vulcan Gatling gun in starboard wing root, 480 rounds
  • Air to air loadout:
  • Air to ground loadout:
    • 2× AIM-120 AMRAAM and
    • AIM-9 Sidewinder and one of the following:
    • 2× 1,000 lb JDAM or
    • 2× Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMDs) or
    • 8× 250 lb GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs

Note: It is estimated that internal bays can carry about 2,000 lb (910 kg) worth of bombs, and/or missiles. Four external hardpoints can be fitted to carry weapons or fuel tanks, each with a capacity of about 5,000 lb (2268 kg), while compromising, to a certain extent, the aircraft's stealth. Some armament is still largely classified. Aircraft in this size class since the F-105 have historically met a requirement of carrying maximum external payloads in the range of 14,000-15,000 lb with combat loads typically closer to 4,000-8,000 lb

Avionics

  • RWR (Radar warning receiver): 250 nmi (463 km) or more
  • Radar: 125-150 miles (200-240 km) against 1 m² targets (estimated range