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20 Jaw Dropping Photos That Prove the F-22 Is a Powerhouse

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F-22 Raptors assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. arrives at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 5, 2018. The Raptors will train with U.S. allies and partners as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to European regional security. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

F-22 Raptor: The Best Fighter Jet on Earth? You Decide – The American-made F-22 Raptor is widely recognized as one of the globe’s most capable and sophisticated air-superiority fighter jet. A photograph published by the airframe’s maker, Lockheed Martin, shows off the jet’s stealth characteristics. Even alongside the cutting-edge F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Raptor appears truly formidable.

As the first operational jet to combine supermaneuvrability, stealth, supercruise and sensor fusion in a single platform, the Raptor has a serious reputation among military and industry experts alike. Due to various circumstances, the F-22 underwent a tediously lengthy production process that was ultimately halted due to the cost-per-plane, meaning only 187 fighters were actually produced. However, the Raptor’s one-of-a-kind attributes make it the kind of deterrent the U.S. should be hesitant to lose.

F-22 Raptor: A History and Capabilities

The Raptor took its first flight in the late 1990s, designed primarily by Lockheed Martin. The single-seat, twin-engine stealth tactical fighter initially entered service in 2005, although its conception dates back much earlier.

The original requirement for the F-22 was identified in the 1980’s when the Air Force determined that its current capabilities could operate at a “mission deficiency” in the near future since U.S. adversaries were ramping up their own production of advanced fighters at the time.

The F-22 host’s supermaneuverable flight characteristics, including a smaller radar cross-section and twin thrust-vectoring F119 turbofan engines.  Its thrust vectoring capacity enables the jet to outclass any other fighter in a dogfight.

The Raptor’s larger frame also allows for three internal weapons bays.

Not Many F-22s To Go Around:

Despite its advanced characteristics, the F-22 Raptors are in short supply.

The Air Force initially planned on purchasing a total of 750 airframes, but the program was cut to 187 jets by 2009.  Many factors resulted in the diminished output, including the end of the Cold War, the shift to the War on Terror and the development of comparable yet cheaper platforms. During the Raptor’s extensive production process, the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was produced. Equipped with advanced attributes, the F-35 is also much cheaper to develop than its predecessor, even despite the $1.5 Trillion cost of the F-35 over its total lifespan.

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F-22 Raptor as depicted on a Tweet from Lockheed Martin.

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F-22 Raptor. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force.

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F-22 Raptor. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force.

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F-22 Raptor. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force.

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F-22 Raptor. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force Social Media.

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F-22 Hawaiian Raptor flies over Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 5, 2019.

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U.S. Air Force Maj. Paul ‘Loco’ Lopez, F-22 Demo Team commander/pilot, performs an aerial demonstration during the MCAS Beaufort air show, April 27, 2019. Maj. Lopez has over 1,500 hours flying both the F-15 and the F-22 and is in his second year as the commander of the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Samuel Eckholm)

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A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor pilot from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., flies over the Baltic Sea Sept. 4, 2015. The U.S. Air Force has deployed four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, approximately 60 Airmen and associated equipment to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. While these aircraft and Airmen are in Europe, they will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

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An F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team pilot flies behind a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron assigned to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, March 8. 2021. The F-22 team from Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Virginia, is assigned to Air Combat Command and received fuel from the Okies during their flight back to their home station after performing at an air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mary Begy)

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A Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter streaks by the ramp at the 2008 Joint Services Open House (JSOH) airshow at Andrews AFB.

Sadly, there are some in U.S. defense circles who consider the F-22 already nearing being obsolete, with the Air Force considering retiring some of the older F-22 airframes. Earlier this month, the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees worked to mandate that the Air Force upgrade its fleet of Raptors instead of letting them go. The Air Force pointed to the Raptor’s expensive maintenance and diminishing value to emphasize its position, while both House and Senate Armed Services Committees petitioned the preservation of the fleet. Today, the  Raptors that were considered for retirement are primarily used for training uses and not in combat roles. This fact poses was an additional reason, according to the Air Force, to retire those airframes.

Since the Raptor first entered service, U.S. adversaries have significantly ramped up efforts to create near-peer airframes. The People’s Republic of China recently debuted its Chengdu J-20 fifth-generation fighter, a true powerhouse in the aviation sphere. Russia also operates its own fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57. The preservation of the unique capabilities the Raptor can provide seems paramount in an increasingly turbulent global climate.

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F-22 Raptor. Image: Creative Commons.

F-22 Raptor History

This F-22A Raptor from the 27th Fighter Squadron “Fighting Eagles” located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fires an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and an AIM-9M sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missile at an BQM-34P “Fire-bee” subscale aerial target drone over the Gulf of Mexico during a Combat Archer mission. The unit was deployed to Tyndall AFB, Florida to support the Air-to-Air Weapons System Evaluation Program hosted by the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron also located at Tyndall.

F-22 Pacific Iron 2021

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An air-to-air overhead view of the YF-22 advanced tactical fighter aircraft during a test flight. The aircraft represents the latest developments in stealth or low observable technology.

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F-22. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

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Image: Artist Rendering/Creative Commons.

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Image: Creative Commons.

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A pilot from the 27th fighter Squadron, Langley, Virginia, prepares to fly an F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, following Hurricane Michael, October 24, 2018.

F-22 History

Image: Creative Commons.

North Korea War

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, F-35 Demonstration Team pilot, tears through the skies during a rehearsal performance for the 2020 OC Air Show Aug. 14, 2020, Ocean City, Md. The OC airshow featured numerous performers to include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor, A-10, and F-35 Demonstration Teams. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

F-22 Raptor

Image: YouTube Screenshot.

Maya Carlin is a Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive. She is also an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

Written By

Maya Carlin is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. HMark

    July 5, 2022 at 5:44 am

    Yes, too few of a costly aircraft with high maintenance overhead as well – a wonderous aircraft to be sure. A super-weapon, yet too few facing potential enemies who have such extreme numbers that their “Quantity has a quality all its own”.

  2. Brian

    July 6, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    The Russian Air Force poses no threat, their 5th gen air craft are proto types, they can’t maintain any of their aircraft in numbers. We’re gonna find out it’s the same for the Chinese. It’s expensive and extremely hard to maintain these air forces in numbers, there are only a couple of countries that can do it, and our adversaries can not, logistics and supply chains are very complicated.

  3. Brian

    July 6, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    Remember the Israel’s went up against the Syrains and killed 99 MiGs with 0 losses, don’t worry about the numbers we have plenty

  4. Klaus Wilson

    July 12, 2022 at 12:51 am

    TO BAD YOUR PRECIOUS PRESIDENT OBAMA KILKED THE NUMBERS AND FLIGHT WORTHY F22’S ARE FEW. THANKS TO THE BEST SO-CALLED PRESIDENT THAT MADE AMERICA STRONG. NOW WE HAVE A WEAKER NATION AND EVEN GROWING WEAKER WITH BIDEN AT THE HELM.

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