The F-22 Is Expensive
Here is the first of our “15 Little-known Facts About F-22 Raptors”. According to the U.S. Air Force Website, an F-22 Raptor unit costs around $143 million per unit. That does not include the research and development costs, which would bring the F-22 to $334 million. Also adding in the lifecycle cost, which includes fuel, parts, and maintenance, the Government Accountability Office estimates that a single F-22 cost around a whopping $678 million.
The F-22 Is Fast & Can Fly As High 50,000 Feet
The next of our facts about F-22 Raptors is the aircraft’s speed is considered Mach two class through supercruise capability. With the enlarged thrust and the F-22 Raptor’s aerodynamic design, the aircraft can reach average combat speed of Mach 1.5 or higher supersonic airspeed without using the afterburner. With the afterburner, the Raptor speed gets amplified faster than Mach 2. The F-22 can also reach a ceiling of 50,000 feet (15 kilometers).
The F-22 Is A Big Fighter Jet
Here is the third our facts about F-22 raptors. The F-22 Raptor has a length of 62 feet and 1 inch (13.6 meters). The aircraft’s height is 16 feet, 8 inches (5.1 meters). The wingspan is 44 feet, 6 inches (13.6 meters). The F-22’s weight is 43,340 pounds (197,700 kilograms), while the maximum takeoff weight is 83, 5000 pounds (38,000 kilograms).
The F-22 Cockpit Contains Technology To Display Information To The Pilot
The F-22 Raptor cockpit is advanced. It is the first aircraft cockpit system designed in mind for night vision goggles. The F-22 contains a heads-up display (HUD) that can project info such as weapon status. Along with these, the cockpit includes six LCD screens which provide tracking information, navigation, air-threat and much more. Also, the aircraft has a hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS) installed as well as an integrated control panel (ICP) that allows the pilot to enter data for navigation, autopilot & communication. The result of these items makes it more efficient for the pilot to manage a great deal of information.
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The F-22 Has A Long Airframe Life
The F-22A was built for 8,000 flight hours, but after years of use, the United States Air Force (USAF) believes the aircraft unmodified is capable of 12,000 hours of airframe life. It might even be possible for the F-22 to reach 15,000 hours. In comparison, aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom II only has an airframe life of 3,500 hours. In The National Interest, the USAF proposes that the current F-22s would be combat-ready through 2060. We think this definitely fits the bill of “little-known facts about F-22 Raptors.”
The 27th Fighter Squadron Obtained The F-22s First
The 27th Fighter Squadron based out of Langley, VA was declared the first operational squadron to fly combat-ready F-22 Raptors in 2003. In late 2003, the squadron received their first F-22A. On December 15, 2005, the Raptors reached Initial Operational Capacity. The 27th Fighter Squadron included 12 aircraft that worked as one deployable package qualified to perform air-to-ground and air-to-air combat.
The F-22 Demonstration Team Performs at Airshows World Wide
In 2007, the F-22 Demonstration team was formed and selected Maj. Paul “Loco” Lopez II as a demo team pilot. Lopez was the first African American pilot to participate on the team. The F-22 Demonstration Team performs at air shows all around the world intending to build Air Force-public relations as well as display the aerobatic skill and maneuverability of the F-22 Raptor. Lopez says it is his mission to offer exposure to young people interested in aviation.
The F-22 Can Perform As A Mini AWAC
In an October 2017 edition of Air Force Magazine, Lt. Col. Shell (only rank given) stated that the role of the F-22 Raptors continuously changed in Operation Inherent Resolve. He said at the start of the conflict that the F-22 was 95% precision strikes shifted to 95% air superiority. Shell went on to say that the F-22 can aid evading “strategic miscalculations” by de-conflicting the airspace from enemy aircraft. Deconflict is possible since the aircraft active/passive sensors as well as the ability to operate close to the battlefield. Despite the F-22 not being a designated Airborne Early Warning Control Platforms (AWAC), the functionality of its sensors, flight and instruments make it possible for the F-22 to perform as mini-AWACS to quickly find targets and cooperate with allied aircraft.
The F-22s Two Engines Can Reach Supersonic Speed Without Afterburners
The F-22 Raptor is powered by two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines. The engines push out 35,000 pounds of thrust. In comparison, the F-15 engine can only put out 25,000-29,000 pounds of thrust. The engines, along with the F-22 design, allow the Raptor to fly at supersonic speeds with a smaller amount of fuel. The Raptor has supercruise ability, which means it can achieve supersonic speeds without using the afterburner, which most aircraft use to achieve this feat.
F-22 First Flight Was in 1997
On April 9, 1997, the first F-22 Raptor was revealed at Marietta, Georgia. It was an Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft with the tail number 4001. The EMD first flight this F-22 on September 7, 1997. Following the flight, the aircraft was used for live-fire testing. At Edwards Air Force Base, California, EMD continued subsystem and system testing and flight test with nine aircraft.
The Total Production Cost Of The F-22 Program Is Over $60 billion
In 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) assessed the total acquisition cost of the F-22 program was around $67.3 billion in then year dollars according to the final selected Acquisition Report for F-22 procurement. The figure summarizes that around $32.4 billion went into research and development cost, $34.2 billion went into procurement cost, and $676.6 million went into MilCon Costs. The estimated price was not adjusted for inflation and did not account for aircraft built or repaired after 2010.
NORAD Can Swiftly Dispatch F-22s
NORAD Can Swiftly Dispatch F-22s
The F-22 Raptor can quickly intercept foreign aircraft. For example, on March 4, 2019, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled out two F-22 Raptors each with an E-3 airborne warning and control system to intercept four Russian bombers and two Su-35 Flanker-E fighter aircraft that entered Alaskan air defense identification zone (ADZIZ). The next day, NORAD initially sent out an additional pair of F-22s to intercept two Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bombers. They ended up dispatching two more when the second group of Russian bombers accompanied by two Sukhoi-mad fighters reentered Alaskan ADZIZ.
The F-22 Vector Nozzle Allows For Greater Maneuverability
Unlike most aircraft which have nozzles that point straight out of the engine, the F-22 Raptor contains a vectoring nozzle which allows the pilot to move it up and down by 20 degrees. Gas exiting the vector nozzle help push the airplane’s nose up or down which expands the roll rate of the aircraft by 50 percent. Since thrust vectoring is built into the F-22s flight control system, the pilot can operate it automatically. The nozzle will move in the correct direction when the pilot turns the aircraft as well as the elevator, rudder, and aileron. The result gives the F-22 more excellent maneuverability than other fighters.
The F-22’s AN/ALR-94 System Can Quickly Detect Threats
The AN/ALR-94 system was built to counter threats of the F-22 Raptor. It integrates offensive and defensive electronic warfare options including radar warning, targeting support and self-protection. The AN/ALR-94 system geolocates enemies by revealing their radar at certain distances. Since the system has long-range detection, it restricts the F-22s radar emission which could give away its own location. The data the AN/ALR-94 collects gives the pilot supreme situational awareness as well as the ability to respond to threats quickly.
The F-22 Design Minimizes Radar Detection
This is the last of our “15 little-known facts about F-22 Raptors.” The F-22 Raptors angular shape was purposeful. The aircraft has plenty of curved shapes with shifting radii. The reason they are curved is it allows the aircraft to break up radar beams when it is hit rather than enemy’s radar retrieving the beams. On the exterior, there are zero right angles. The design includes sawtooth edges aligned across the outside of the cockpit. These edges appear on the opening and doorways as well. The edges perform a similar function to the curves by scattering radar beams. The wings, on the other hand, are designed, so the aircraft appears smaller on enemy’s radar. The F-22 designers accomplished this by aligning the edges of the main wing and rear wing.
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