Jaw Dropping Facts About the F-22 Raptor
The amazing F-22 Raptor is an incredible plane. One of the most advanced military planes in the entire world, it literally flies under the radar. Many plane lovers are fascinated by this incredible aircraft. While a lot remains mysterious about this plane, certain facts have been revealed to the public. Such facts make the aircraft even more of a source of wonder and fascination.
1. The F-22 is not only a program used by the air force. Similar technology has also been used by the navy. The Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter program had a similar fighter that included specific features such as the variable-sweep wings. The program was intended as a replacement for the F-14 fighters they relied on in combat.
2. This jet has what is know as an F-119 engine. Such engines offer vastly enhanced maneuverability. They use trust vectoring that helps creates tighter and more sustainable turns even during high-g forces. This means the F-22 can perform stall maneuvers and thus close in quickly on any and all enemy targets. The plane can also perform astonishing high-alpha maneuvers that allow for maximum control even when the plane is rolling over.
3. All F-22s have the capacity to travel at up to 1,500 miles an hour, allowing for huge range when it comes to using this plane as part of the military’s arsenal. Each plane is refueled from above, via other planes that can carry massive amounts of fuel and enable the plane to have a range of 2,000 miles.
4. The stealth function of the plane still makes it one of the most amazing aircrafts of all time. The craft shows up on radar as something not more larger than a bee, while the plane can see the entire area without the other aircraft even knowing they are in the area.
5. This is a very expensive plane. The estimated cost for the entire program is roughly 66 billion, making it one of the most expensive fighters ever produced by any government at any point in time. Opposition to the program was expressed by several Republican senators including John McCain. The program was also opposed by the Secretary of Defense. Despite this opposition, military officials have been able to get the fighters they want at the price they had in mind.
6. Chief test pilot Paul Metz can be seen here in a shirt that he called his lucky shirt. The Super Chicken t-shirt he wore had something of a cult following among test pilots. He credited his lucky shirt for the opportunity to fly the plane and help improve it.
7. While the fighter is very safe for pilots. there have been two instances where the plane has crashed while it was being flown. The first time was in 2009 and the second in 2012. The first time the pilot died but the second time the pilot was able to eject and survive.
8. The actual cost of the program has been widely debated in many places. Some figures put an hour of air force fighting time about about $44,000 per hour. Other figures state the actual cost of the fight per hour is more like $49,000. In any case, this still makes flighting the plane very expensive. The Secretary of Defense has made sure to try and offer accurate figures about the real cost of operating the plane to the American public.
9. The F-22 program was started way back during the 1980’s. The Raptors were actually developed in response to what was known to be a legitimate threat from the Soviet Air Force. This was the time of the Cold War when Americans were weary of the Soviets. It remains in place to help fight forces such as ISIS.
10. Film fans may know the fighter because it was in the film Transformers. The fighter was shown a character that one of the other characters could turn into onscreen.
11. The F-22 was originally intended to be in the air for at least 30 years. Designers also hoped that it would be able accumulate at least 8,000 flight hours before needing replacement. Today’s new models are expected to be in the sky even longer and expected to continue to fly the skies as the air force needs them.
12. The crowded cockpit of the fighter offers advanced technology but only allows for a single pilot, meaning that pilot must be at the top of their class in order to simply be allowed to fly this plane. Features like the monochrome head-up display require vast skills to understand and operate correctly.
13. Production of the fighter was halted due to other military priorities that were deemed more important. This was as a result of an act of congress.
14. Yet, the airplane remains in production despite this order. The Raptor should continue to remain in service until at least 2040.
15. The air force has 187 fighter jets that are either on order or in production and will be used by pilots. While 243 was the original target number of planes, this is now understood to be sufficient.
16. Many people are shocked to learn the F-22 has actually never been used in combat, despite that being the original purpose of the airplane.
17. This plane doesn’t need to use fuel-efficient afterburners when cruising. Instead, it can intercept targets easily because it has a strong structure that allows it to deal with stress well without problems.
18. The F-22 was at the very head of a strike against ISIS in July 2014.
19. The F-22 is considered such an important plane, it’s literally illegal to sell one to a foreign government, even one that is considered an ally.
20. Lockheed Martin created much of the plane. This includes the fuselage and the weapons units, as well as many of the finished products. In order to get the contract on the fighter, Lockheed Martin had to offer up an F-22 design that was able beat out Northrop’s YF-23 design.
21. The Raptor has proven to be a highly effective plane with a kill ratio of 108:0 during all of the training sessions. This makes it the very first jet that is able to combine stealth and super cruise as well as super maneuverability, and what is known as sensor fusion into a single, highly effective platform.
22. The F-22 is what is known as a 5th generation fighter aircraft, meaning it has been developed over a long period of time. It also has what is known as 4th generation stealth technology. This kind of technology allows the plane to show off a highly unique combination of speed, and agility as well as stealth, and an incredibly sense of situational awareness, providing the pilot with lots of data. By design the fighter has lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry. This makes the fighter the one with the single most exemplary air dominance fighter in the entire world.
23. The design of the F-22 has been much admired by those who know great aircraft. In 2006, those who designed this aircraft were even awarded the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy. This award is given out annually from the National Aeronautic Association. The aircraft has also been the recipient of several other awards. This includes Air Force Association’s John R. Alison Award. Designers were given this one for outstanding contributions as a result of their dedication to industrial leadership and to national defense. Another award those involved in this aircraft have earned is the Collier Award as a result of their unprecedented air dominance.
24. One of the most important parts of technology the plane uses is known as active electronically scanned array radars. This kind of technology means that they can actually use a beam from the aircraft to get information about other planes. This info can then be transmitted to other planes in the area. Officials state the new technology was first used in 2014 to help capture an ISIS fighter and bring him to justice.
25. The F-22 is a fighter that has specific places where weapons can be stored. There are three bays in the plane that are meant only for the use of weapons, making it possible for pilots to have backups should one happen to fail during combat. As a result of such backups, this means the the Raptor offers both superior performance and stealth capability in the same aircraft.
26. Maintaining the plane is part of a huge national effort that takes place all across the United States. Basic tasks are done in California, Nevada and Florida. There are also squadrons that are are deployed in several other states including Alaska, New Mexico, Virginia and Hawaii.
27. Believe it or not, unlike some other kinds of stealth planes, the F-22 is actually more effective when it gains height and speed. This allows the pilot to strike a moving target from as far away as 24 miles.