Another great video of the US Air Force F-22 Raptor some argue that it is the worst nightmare of the Russian Air Force. The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a 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 is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provides 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. Despite a protracted development as well as 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. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, said in 2004 that the "F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built."
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 lower cost F-35 led to the end of F-22 production.[N 1] 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.
The F-22 Raptor is a fifth generation fighter that is considered fourth generation in stealth aircraft technology by the USAF. It is the first operational aircraft to combine supercruise, supermaneuverability, stealth, and sensor fusion in a single weapons platform. The Raptor has large shoulder-mounted trapezoidal wings, four empennage surfaces, and a retractable tricycle landing gear. Flight control surfaces include leading and trailing-edge flaps, ailerons, rudders on the canted vertical stabilizers, and all-moving horizontal tails; these surfaces also serve as speed brakes.
The aircraft's dual afterburning Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines are closely spaced and incorporate pitch-axis thrust vectoring nozzles with a range of ±20 degrees; each engine has maximum thrust in the 35,000 lbf (156 kN) class. The F-22's thrust to weight ratio in typical combat configuration is nearly at unity in maximum military power and 1.25 in full afterburner. Maximum speed without external stores is estimated to be Mach 1.82 during supercruise and greater than Mach 2 with afterburners.[N 2]
The F-22 is among only a few aircraft that can supercruise, or sustain supersonic flight without using fuel-inefficient afterburners; targets can be intercepted which subsonic aircraft would lack the speed to pursue and an afterburner-dependent aircraft would lack the fuel to reach. The Raptor's high operating altitude is also a significant tactical advantage over prior fighters. The use of internal weapons bays permits the aircraft to maintain comparatively higher performance over most other combat-configured fighters due to a lack of aerodynamic drag from external stores. The F-22's structure contains extensive amounts of high-strength materials to withstand stress and heat of sustained supersonic flight. Respectively, titanium alloys and composites comprise 39% and 24% of the aircraft's structural weight.
The F-22 is highly maneuverable at both supersonic and subsonic speeds. Computerized fly-by-wire control system and full authority digital engine control (FADEC) make the aircraft highly departure resistant and controllable at aggressive pilot inputs. 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.
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)