The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and was responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.
The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 prior to formally entering service in December 2005 as the F-22A. After a protracted development and despite operational issues, the USAF considers the F-22 a critical component of its tactical air power, and states that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter. The Raptor’s combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities.
The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile and comparatively lower cost F-35 led to the end of F-22 production. A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009 and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.
In 1981 the U.S. Air Force developed a requirement for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) as a new air superiority fighter to replace the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Code named “Senior Sky“, this program was influenced by the emerging worldwide threats, including development and proliferation of Soviet Su-27 “Flanker”- and MiG-29 “Fulcrum”-class fighter aircraft. It would take advantage of the new technologies in fighter design on the horizon, including composite materials, lightweight alloys, advanced flight control systems, more powerful propulsion systems, and stealth technology. The request for proposals (RFP) was issued in July 1986 and two contractor teams, Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics and Northrop/McDonnell Douglas, were selected on 31 October 1986 to undertake a 50-month demonstration phase, culminating in the flight test of two technology demonstrator prototypes, the YF-22 and the YF-23.
Each design team produced two prototype air vehicles, one for each of the two engine options. The Lockheed-led team employed thrust vectoring nozzles on YF-22 for enhanced maneuverability in dogfights. The ATF’s increasing weight and cost drove out certain requirements during development. Side-looking radars were deleted, and the dedicated infra-red search and track (IRST) system was downgraded from multi-color to single color and then deleted as well. However, space and cooling provisions were retained to allow for future addition of these components. The ejection seat requirement was downgraded from a fresh design to the existing McDonnell Douglas ACES II.
After the flight test demonstration and validation of the prototypes, on 23 April 1991, Secretary of the USAF Donald Rice announced the YF-22 as the winner of the ATF competition. The YF-23 design was considered stealthier and faster while the YF-22 was more maneuverable. The aviation press speculated that the YF-22 was also more adaptable to the U.S. Navy’s Navalized Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF), but by 1992, the Navy had abandoned NATF.
Production and procurement
The F-22 had several design changes from the YF-22. The swept-back angle of the leading edge was decreased from 48° to 42°, while the vertical stabilizers were shifted rearward and decreased in area by 20%. To improve pilot visibility, the canopy was moved forward 7 inches (18 cm), and the engine intakes moved rearward 14 inches (36 cm). The shapes of the wing and stabilator trailing edges were refined to improve aerodynamics, strength, and stealth characteristics. Increasing weight during development caused slight reductions in range and aerodynamic performance.
In April 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessed the F-22’s cost to be $361 million per aircraft, with $28 billion invested in development and testing; the Unit Procurement Cost was estimated at $178 million in 2006, based on a production run of 181 aircraft. It was estimated by the end of production, $34 billion will have been spent on procurement, resulting in a total program cost of $62 billion, around $339 million per aircraft. The incremental cost for an additional F-22 was estimated at about $138 million in 2009. The GAO stated the estimated cost was $412 million per aircraft in 2012.
Ban on exports
The IAF would be happy to equip itself with 24 F-22s, but the problem at this time is the U.S. refusal to sell the aircraft, and its $200 million price tag. Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze’ev Snir.
Some Australian politicians and defense commentators proposed that Australia should attempt to purchase F-22s instead of the planned F-35s, citing the F-22’s known capabilities and F-35’s delays and developmental uncertainties. However, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) determined that the F-22 was unable to perform the F-35’s strike and close air support roles. The Japanese government also showed interest in the F-22 for its Replacement-Fighter program. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) would reportedly require fewer fighters for its mission if it obtained the F-22, thus reducing engineering and staffing costs. However, in 2009 it was reported that acquiring the F-22 would require increases to the defense budget beyond the historical 1 percent of GDP. With the end of F-22 production, Japan chose the F-35 in December 2011. Israel also expressed interest, but eventually chose the F-35 because of the F-22’s price and unavailability.
Throughout the 2000s, the need for F-22s was debated due to rising costs and the lack of relevant adversaries. In 2006, Comptroller General of the United States David Walker found that “the DoD has not demonstrated the need” for more investment in the F-22, and further opposition to the program was expressed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Senator John McCain, and Chairman of U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services Senator John Warner. The F-22 program lost influential supporters in 2008 after resignation of Secretary of the USAF Michael Wynne and General T. Michael Moseley. Nevertheless, in 2008, Congress passed a defense spending bill funding the F-22’s continued production and the Pentagon released $50 million of the $140 million for four additional aircraft, raising the total orders for production aircraft to 187 and leaving the program in the hands of the next administration.
In November 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that the Raptor was not relevant in post-Cold War conflicts such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in April 2009, under the new Obama Administration, he called for ending F-22 production in fiscal year (FY) 2011, leaving the USAF with 187 production aircraft. In July, General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated to the Senate Committee on Armed Services his reasons for supporting termination of F-22 production. They included shifting resources to the multirole F-35 to allow proliferation of fifth-generation fighters for three service branches and preserving the F/A-18 production line to maintain the military’s electronic warfare (EW) capabilities in the Boeing EA-18G Growler.
See details of F35: HERE
See details of EA-18G Growler: HERE
Boeing EA-18G Growler
Issues with the F-22’s reliability and availability also raised concerns. After President Obama threatened to veto further production, the Senate voted in July 2009 in favor of ending production and the House subsequently agreed to abide by the 187 production aircraft cap. Gates stated that the decision was taken in light of the F-35’s capabilities, and in 2010, he set the F-22 requirement to 187 aircraft by lowering the number of major regional conflict preparations from two to one.
In 2010, USAF initiated a study to determine the costs of retaining F-22 tooling for a future Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). A RAND Corporation paper from this study estimated that restarting production and building an additional 75 F-22s would cost $17 billion, resulting in $227 million per aircraft or 54 million higher than the flyaway cost. Lockheed Martin stated that restarting the production line itself would cost about $200 million. Production tooling will be documented in illustrated electronic manuals stored at the Sierra Army Depot. Retained tooling will produce additional components; due to the limited production run there are no reserve aircraft, leading to considerable care during maintenance. Later attempts to retrieve this tooling found that the containers were empty.
F-22 with drop tanks
The Pentagon cannot continue with business as usual when it comes to the F-22 or any other program in excess of our needs.
Russian and Chinese fighter developments have fueled concern, and in 2009, General John Corley, head of Air Combat Command, stated that a fleet of 187 F-22s would be inadequate, but Secretary Gates dismissed this concern.
See details of Chinese J-31: HERE
In 2011, Gates explained that Chinese fifth-generation fighter developments had been accounted for when the number of F-22s was set, and that the U.S. would have a considerable advantage in stealth aircraft in 2025, even with F-35 delays. In December 2011, the 195th and final F-22 was completed out of 8 test and 187 operational aircraft produced, the aircraft was delivered to the USAF on 2 May 2012.
The first combat-capable Block 3.0 aircraft first flew in 2001. Increment 2, the first F-22 upgrade program, was implemented in 2005 and enables the aircraft to employ Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM).
An F-22A Raptor of USAF 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing, Langley, Virginia releases a GBU-32 JDAM bomb (Photo Source: USAF via Air Power Australia)July 17, 2008 (by SrA Julius Delos Reyes) – On July 11, the 411th Flight Test Squadron passed a milestone as an F-22 Raptor travelling at supersonic speed dropped a GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb for the first time. (f-16.net)
Increment 3.1 provides improved ground-attack capability through synthetic aperture radar mapping and radio emitter direction finding, electronic attack and the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB); testing began in 2009 and the first upgraded aircraft was delivered in 2012. Increment 3.2 is a two-part upgrade process; 3.2A focuses on electronic warfare, communications and identification, while 3.2B will allow the F-22 to fully exploit the AIM-9X and AIM-120D missiles.
Second EMD prototype F-22A 91-4002 fires an AIM-9 Sidewinder. (photo, Lockheed Martin)Internal weapon bay carriage of the JDAM and AMRAAM (USAF Photo).
The subsequent Increment 3.3 may include the adoption of an open avionics platform and air traffic control updates. Upgrades due in 2015 will allow the F-22 to employ the AIM-9X and have full Link 16 reception and transmission capability, and an upgrade scheduled in 2018 will integrate the AIM-120D into the weapons suite. The F-22 fleet is planned to have 36 Block 20 training and 149 Block 30/35 combat aircraft by 2016.
The first guided launch of the AIM-9X from an F-22 Raptor took place on 26 February Source: David Henry/Lockheed MartinThis F-22A Raptor from the 27th FS at Langley AFB fires an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile at an aerial target drone over the Gulf of Mexico during a Combat Archer mission February 14. 2006. This missile is one of the first fired from an F-22A Raptor.@ausairpower.net
Scorpion HMCS from what I understand this is still not yet in operation
To enable two-way communication with other platforms, the F-22 can use the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) as a gateway. The originally planned MADL integration was cut due to the lack of system maturity. Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are currently competing to connect the F-22 with other platforms while maintaining stealth. (see below)
F-15 fitted with Talon HATE pod for communication with F-22
This will allow American F-15C/D and other so-called “legacy” fighters, allied aircraft, ships, and ground and command-and-control assets that use MIDS/JTIDS Link 16 data links common to NATO countries to see what the F-22 sees. It does this by receiving and translating the F-22’s proprietary and stealthy Intra-flight data link (FIDL) transmissions into data the MIDS/Link 16 data link terminals can display. (See details HERE)
Other upgrades being developed include infra-red search and track functionality for the AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD) and integration of a helmet-mounted cuing system (HMCS) to enable off-boresight missile launches by 2020. Until the F-22 gains a helmet mounted system it will use the AIM-9X’s helmetless high off-boresight (HHOBS) capabilities. In March 2010, the USAF accelerated software portions of 3.2 to be completed in FY 2013.
In January 2011, the USAF opened the Raptor enhancement, development and integration (REDI) contract to bidders, with a $16 billion budget. In November 2011, Lockheed Martin’s upgrade contract ceiling was raised to $7.4 billion. Nearly $2 billion was allocated for structural repairs and to achieve fleet availability rate of 70.6% by 2015. However, only 63% was achieved. Some F-35 technology, such as more durable stealth coatings, have been applied to the F-22. By 2012, the update schedule had slipped seven years due to instability in requirements and funding. In 2014 the USAF moved to cut upgrade funding.
The F-22 is currently being upgraded with a backup oxygen system, software upgrades and oxygen sensors to address the frequent oxygen deprivation issues and normalize operations. In 2013, the faulty flight vest valves were replaced and altitude restrictions lifted; distance restrictions will be lifted once a backup oxygen system is installed. In April 2014 the USAF stated in Congressional testimony that installation of automatic backup oxygen systems on the F-22 fleet would be completed within twelve months.
The F-22 was designed for a lifespan of 30 years and 8,000 flight hours, with a $100 million “structures retrofit program”. Investigations are being made for upgrades to extend their useful lives further. In the long term, the F-22 is expected to be superseded by a sixth-generation jet fighter to be fielded in the 2030s.
The Raptor’s relaxed stability and powerful thrust vectoring powerplants enable the aircraft to turn tightly and perform very high alpha (angle of attack) maneuvers such as the Herbst maneuver (J-turn) and Pugachev’s Cobra. The aircraft is also capable of maintaining over 60° alpha while having some roll control.
Comparison of control surfaces of F-22 and T-50
The Raptor’s aerodynamic performance, sensor fusion, and stealth work together for increased effectiveness. Altitude, speed, and advanced active and passive sensors allow the aircraft to spot targets at considerable ranges and increase weapons range; altitude and speed also complement stealth’s ability to increase the aircraft’s survivability against ground defenses such as surface-to-air missiles.
Key avionics include BAE Systems EI&S AN/ALR-94 radar warning receiver (RWR), Lockheed Martin AN/AAR-56 infrared and ultraviolet Missile Launch Detector (MLD) and Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The MLD features six sensors to provide full spherical infrared coverage.
The RWR is a passive radar detector with more than 30 antennas are blended into the wings and fuselage for all-round coverage. Tom Burbage, former F-22 program head at Lockheed Martin, described it as “the most technically complex piece of equipment on the aircraft.” The range of the RWR (250+ nmi) exceeds the radar’s, and can cue radar emissions to be confined to a narrow beam (down to 2° by 2° in azimuth and elevation) to increase stealth.
Depending on the detected threat, the defensive systems can prompt the pilot to release countermeasures such as flares or chaff. According to Bill Sweetman, experts had said the ALR-94 can be used as a passive detection system capable of searching targets and providing enough information for a radar lock on.
Stealth changes the tactical environment in fundamental ways. The first result of stealth is that the opponent cannot see the stealthy fighter on radar, or detect its radar on a warning receiver. Therefore, the stealthy fighter can locate, identify and stalk its opponent without being detected. A stealthy fighter can therefore exploit von Richtoven’s fundamental axiom, approach its victim undetected and shoot from six o’clock before the opposing fighter even knows it is there.
To fully exploit its technological advantage, the stealthy fighter will therefore need to adopt hit-and-run ambush tactics and avoid being drawn into a “turn-and-burn” knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth. At ranges inside 3 miles, a stealthy fighter loses its basic advantage of undetectability, as it may be tracked visually, and an opposing fighter’s radar and missiles can detect it and track it.
Therefore a stealthy fighter will maximise its survivability and lethality by staying outside its opponent’s visual engagement envelope, positioning itself for a shot and then shooting a fire-and-forget missile. @ausairpower.net
The AN/APG-77 AESA radar
The F-22’s software has some 1.7 million lines of code, the majority involving processing radar data. Former Secretary of the USAF Michael Wynne blamed the use of the DoD’s Ada for cost overruns and delays on many military projects, including the F-22. Cyberattacks on subcontractors have reportedly raised doubts about the security of the F-22’s systems and combat-effectiveness. In 2009, former Navy Secretary John Lehman considered the F-22 to be safe from cyberattack, citing the age of its IBM software.
Cockpit of the F-22, showing instruments, head up display and throttle top (lower left)
ACES II (Advanced Concept Ejection Seat)
F-22 Raptor pilots wear a new anti-g suit which incorporates an upper body counterpressure garmet along with the traditional lower body “speed jeans” G suit
The pilot garments were developed under the Advanced Technology Anti-G Suit (ATAGS) project and are to protect against chemical/biological hazards and cold-water immersion, counter g-forces and low pressure at high altitudes, and provide thermal relief. Suspicions regarding the performance of the OBOGS and life support equipment have been raised by several mishaps, including a fatal crash.
The main bay can accommodate six LAU-142/A launchers for beyond-visual-range missiles @mscsoftware.com (See below how it works)
Each side bay has an LAU-141/A launcher for short-range missiles (See below for details)@firstname.lastname@example.org
The F-22 can also carry 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. Internal air-to-surface ordnance is limited to 2,000 lb.
An internally mounted M61A2 Vulcan 20 mm cannon is embedded in the right wing
An internally mounted M61A2 Vulcan 20 mm cannon is embedded in the right wing root with the muzzle covered by a retractable door to maintain stealth. The radar projection of the cannon fire’s path is displayed on the pilot’s head-up display.
F-22 with external weapons pylons @ausairpower.net
Port tail boom rear view @aircraftresourcecenter.comEngine exhaust @aircraftresourcecenter.comPort tail boom @aircraftresourcecenter.comArrestor hook. If you look at the fly-by picture, you won’t see the hook. It’s faired in when it’s retracted (see below). @eaa42.orgDetails of arrestor hook housing @aircraftresourcecenter.com
The effectiveness of the stealth characteristics is difficult to gauge. The RCS value is a restrictive measurement of the aircraft’s frontal or side area from the perspective of a static radar. When an aircraft maneuvers it exposes a completely different set of angles and surface area, potentially increasing radar observability. Furthermore, the F-22’s stealth contouring and radar absorbent materials are chiefly effective against high-frequency radars, usually found on other aircraft. The effects of Rayleigh scattering and resonance mean that low-frequency radars such as weather radars and early-warning radars are more likely to detect the F-22 due to its physical size. However, such radars are also conspicuous, susceptible to clutter, and have low precision. Additionally, while faint or fleeting radar contacts make defenders aware that a stealth aircraft is present, reliably vectoring interception to attack the aircraft is much more challenging. According to the USAF an F-22 surprised an Iranian F-4 Phantom II that was attempting to intercept an American UAV, despite Iran’s claim of having military VHF radar coverage over the Persian Gulf.
Thrust Vectoring – uses the powerful Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 engines with built-in single dimension thrust vectoring that enables the Raptor to make tight maneuvers
The L-band, which in Russian usage typically refers to frequencies between 1.0 GHz and 2.0 GHz, with wavelengths between 0.3 metres and 0.15 metres, is heavily populated with common services as well as being a favoured band for long range search radars.
Services operating in the L-band include JTIDS/MIDS/Link-16, military IFF and civil SSR transponders, Navstar GPS, Galileo and Glonass satellite navigation, and a range of guided weapons datalinks. The band is also used for some satellite communications uplinks and downlinks. The NG MESA active array AEW&C/AWACS radar developed for the E-737 / Wedgetail, the Israeli Elta EL/M-2075 Phalcon AESA radar used in the Indian A-50I AEW&C/AWACS and the EL/W-2085 used in the G550 hosted AEW&C aircraft, as well as the Chinese KJ-2000 and KJ-200 AEW&C/AWACS radars, all operate in the L-band. Russia’s 59N6 Protivnik GE series and 67N6 Gamma DE AESA series long range mobile search radars also operate in the L-band.
Why has the L-band been so popular? With operating wavelengths of the order of 6 to 12 inches, it permits good long range search performance with modestly sized antennas, while providing excellent weather penetration, and reasonably well behaved ground clutter environments compared to shorter wavelength bands. In airborne radar applications, L-band offers an additional economy, as a single L-band design can combine conventional primary radar functions with secondary IFF/SSR functions, thus saving considerable antenna and transmitter/receiver hardware weight, cooling and volume. The latter are alone sufficient reasons to employ this otherwise heavily congested band.
Another less frequently discussed consideration is that L-band frequencies typically sit below the design operating frequencies of stealth shaping features in many fighter aircraft and UAV designs. Shaping features such as engine inlet edges, exhaust nozzles, and other details become ineffective at controlled scattering once their size is comparable to that of the impinging radar waves. This problem is exacerbated by the skin effect in resistive and magnetic materials, which at these wavelengths often results in penetration depths incompatible with thin coatings or shallow structures.@ausairpower.net
See details of Chinese KJ-2000 AWACS: HERE
- YF-22A – pre-production technology demonstrator for ATF demonstration/validation phase; two were built.
- F-22A – single-seat production version, was designated F/A-22A in early 2000s.
- F-22B – planned two-seat variant, but was canceled in 1996 to save development costs.
- Naval F-22 variant – a carrier-borne variant of the F-22 with variable-sweep wings for the U.S. Navy’s Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF) program to replace the F-14 Tomcat. Program was canceled in 1993. Former SoAF Donald Rice has called the possibility of the naval variant the deciding factor for his choice of the YF-22 over the YF-23.
The FB-22 was a proposed medium-range bomber for the USAF. The FB-22 was projected to carry up to 30 Small Diameter Bombs to about twice the range of the F-22A, while maintaining the F-22’s stealth and supersonic speed. However, the FB-22 in its planned form appears to have been canceled with the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and subsequent developments, in lieu of a larger subsonic bomber with a much greater range.
The X-44 MANTA, or multi-axis, no-tail aircraft, was a planned experimental aircraft based on the F-22 with enhanced thrust vectoring controls and no aerodynamic surface backup. The aircraft was to be solely controlled by thrust vectoring, without featuring any rudders, ailerons, or elevators. Funding for this program was halted in 2000.
- The U.S. Air Force is the only operator of the F-22. It ordered 8 test and 187 operational production aircraft. In November 2012, it had 184 production aircraft in inventory.
- 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron(Nellis AFB, Nevada)
- 192d Fighter Wing – Langley AFB, Virginia
- 44th Fighter Group – Tyndall AFB, Florida
- 301st Fighter Squadron – Associate AFRC squadron to the 325th Fighter Wing (Air Combat Command).
- 477th Fighter Group – Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
- 302d Fighter Squadron – Associate AFRC squadron to the 3d Wing (Pacific Air Forces).
- Crew: 1
- Length: 62 ft 1 in (18.92 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 64A05.92 root, NACA 64A?04.29 tip
- Empty weight: 43,340 lb (19,700 kg)
- Loaded weight: 64,840 lb (29,410 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 83,500 lb (38,000 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 pitch thrust vectoring turbofans
- Dry thrust: 26,000 lb (116 kN) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 35,000+ lb (156+ kN) each
- Fuel capacity: 18,000 lb (8,200 kg) internally, or 26,000 lb (12,000 kg) with two external fuel tanks
- Maximum speed:
- Range: >1,600 nmi (1,840 mi, 2,960 km) with 2 external fuel tanks
- Combat radius: 410 nmi (with 100 nmi in supercruise) (470 mi, 760 km)
- Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,740 nmi, 3,220 km)
- Service ceiling: >65,000 ft (20,000 m)
- Wing loading: 77.2 lb/ft² (377 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 1.08
- Maximum design g-load: −3.0/+9.0 g
- Air to air loadout:
- Air to ground loadout:
- Hardpoints: 4× under-wing pylon stations can be fitted to carry 600 U.S. gallondrop tanks or weapons, each with a capacity of 5,000 lb (2,270 kg).
- AN/APG-77radar: 125–150 miles (200–240 km) against 1 m2 (11 sq ft) targets (estimated range)
- AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD)
- AN/ALR-94 radar warning receiver (RWR): 250 nmi (463 km) or more detection range
- MJU-39/40 flares for protection against IR missiles