|The F-22 Raptor is the Air
Force's newest fighter
aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and
integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents
an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs
both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of
operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.
The F-22A , a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is
designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and
defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation's Air Force,
Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-22A cannot be matched by any known
or projected fighter aircraft.
A combination of sensor capability, integrated avionics, situational
awareness, and weapons provides first-kill opportunity against threats.
The F-22A possesses a sophisticated sensor suite allowing the pilot to
track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being
detected. Significant advances in cockpit design and sensor fusion
improve the pilot's situational awareness. In the air-to-air
configuration the Raptor carries six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9
The F-22A has a significant capability to attack surface targets. In
the air-to-ground configuration the aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound
GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally and will use on-board
avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support. In the future
air-to-ground capability will be enhanced with the addition of an
upgraded radar and up to eight small diameter bombs. The Raptor will
also carry two AIM-120s and two AIM-9s in the air-to-ground
Advances in low-observable technologies provide significantly improved
survivability and lethality against air-to-air and surface-to-air
threats. The F-22A brings stealth into the day, enabling
it not only to
protect itself but other assets.
The F-22A engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine.
The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows
the F-22A to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach)
without using afterburner -- a characteristic known as supercruise.
Supercruise greatly expands the F-22A 's operating envelope in both
speed and range over current fighters, which must use fuel-consuming
afterburner to operate at supersonic speeds.
The sophisticated F-22A aerodesign, advanced flight controls, thrust
vectoring, and high thrust-to-weight ratio provide the capability to
outmaneuver all current and projected aircraft. The F-22A design has
been extensively tested and refined aerodynamically during the
The F-22A's characteristics provide a synergistic effect ensuring F-22A
lethality against all advanced air threats. The combination of stealth,
integrated avionics and supercruise drastically shrinks surface-to-air
missile engagement envelopes and minimizes enemy capabilities to track
and engage the F-22A . The combination of reduced observability and
supercruise accentuates the advantage of surprise in a tactical
The F-22A will have better reliability and maintainability than any
fighter aircraft in history. Increased F-22A reliability and
maintainability pays off in less manpower required to fix the aircraft
and the ability to operate more efficiently.
The Advanced Tactical Fighter entered the Demonstration and Validation
phase in 1986. The prototype aircraft (YF-22 and YF-23) both completed
their first flights in late 1990. Ultimately the YF-22 was selected as
best of the two and the engineering and manufacturing development
effort began in 1991 with development contracts to Lockheed/Boeing
(airframe) and Pratt & Whitney (engines). EMD included
subsystem and system testing as well as flight testing with nine
aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The first EMD flight was in
1997 and at the completion of its flight test life this aircraft was
used for live-fire testing.
The program received approval to enter low rate initial production in
2001. Initial operational and test evaluation by the Air Force
Operational Test and Evaluation Center was successfully completed in
2004. Based on maturity of design and other factors the program
received approval for full rate production in 2005. Air Education and
Training Command and Air Combat Command are the primary Air Force
organizations flying the F-22A . The aircraft designation was
F/A-22 for a short time before being renamed F-22A in December 2005.