The definition of a successful fighter jet is the one that allows the pilot to maximize their tactical potential and be able to remove their workload when possible. While all the fighter jets are built upon this very principle, Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor takes this to whole another level.
To make the aircraft as agile as possible, the variety of mechanisms have been built into every inch of this fighter jet.
The concept of this aircraft was proposed back in the 1980s and the design was presented back in the early 1990s. The purpose behind the development of this aircraft was to replace the aging fighter jets like F-15 and F-16 for the air-to-air combat.
With the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the history of the new fifth generation, single seat, and twin-engine stealth fighter jets began.
For our readers today we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which are as follows.
Cost of one Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor:-
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is one of the most secretive planes in existence, even today. The whole developmental project released in the army to cost about 66 billion dollars. With this, the estimated cost of one Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is about 339 million dollars.
Due to this much expensive developmental cost, there were debate and strong opposition from the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield and Senator John McCain to stop the program. However, Congress decided to continue the program and the development of new aircraft by signing a bill back in 2008.
A single-seat fighter jet:-
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor boasts one of the most advanced cockpits in the modern military aircraft. The cockpit might be a little cramped but it is more advanced than any other fighter jet. The cockpit offers pilot a monochrome Head-Up display along with a keypad system for making communications and entering the autopilot data. The aircraft only allows a single pilot to sit in it.
Due to the single seat design, only the best of the best pilots can operate this beast of a flying machine.
The very first flight that the F-22 took was back on September 7th, 1997. It was a Sunday morning when the first F-22 EMD aircraft took its flight. Throughout the ’90s this aircraft was assembled piece by piece with intensive care. The fabrication for the first part of the flyable aircraft started back in 1993.
First Combat Debut:-
Although the aircraft took its first flight in 1997, it was not until 2014 that the aircraft did its first Combat Debut. In July of 2014, a US-led coalition mission against ISIS started dropping bombs on the targets across Syria and Iraq. To ensure the safety of other aircraft during these strike missions, US Air Force enlisted the help of the F-22.
The role, which F-22 did in these missions, was to escort the strike packages to the target area while gaining details about the enemy systems.
It is needless to state that F-22 can make it t the Middle East from the USA without stopping for refilling its fuel. However, still, this state of the art aircraft has a long range of 2000 miles and can travel at a speed of 1500 miles per hour.
Luckily, nowadays KC-135s are like the aerial fueling stations. During the Syrian Air Strikes, F-22s elide on these gas stations in the sky to refuel.
Incidents since its development:-
Unlike many other fighter jets, this aircraft has only suffered a handful of incidents. The very first indent happened back in the early 2000s when a “YF-22’ crashed during testing at the Edwards Air Force Base USA.
The second incident took place in 2004 when an F-22 suffered the very first major accident during its take-off at the Nellis USAFB in Nevada. The pilot was able to eject out the aircraft safely. The flight control system in this incident started to malfunction because of an engine shutdown. This problem was soon rectified in the future designs of the F-22.
Chief test pilot wore a lucky shirt for the test flight
The Chief test pilot for this aircraft’s first flight was Paul Metz who wore his lucky t-shirt before doing the flight. Underneath his flight suit, Paul was wearing a Super Chicken t-shirt.
The cartoon show Super Chicken was aired back in 1967 on ABC network.
Designed to last 30 years:-
This fighter jet was developed and designed to last for more than 30 years and an ability to complete 8000 flight hours.
The goal of the US Army is to develop a sixth generation jet fighter until 2030 to have an even longer lifespan.
Aircraft appears as a ‘Bumblebee’ on radar image:-
There is no exaggeration when it comes to the stealth capabilities of the F-22, which makes it virtually invisible. The radar viewers can only view this aircraft with a size that is no more than of a Bumblebee.
This is a massive advantage for the aircraft, which provides a 360 degree, vie to the pilot for the surroundings while remaining virtually undetectable.
Uses AESA to find enemy aircraft:-
The aircraft is equipped with AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar, which aims their beam by emitting the radio waves. This technology is used by aircraft to not only detect and collect the valuable data about the enemy aircraft but also share it with the fellow attack aircraft.
This radar system was a massive help in the Air Strikes mission against ISIS following the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh’s burning. He was captured on Christmas of 2014.
Altitude and high speed adds to the munitions effectiveness:-
During a test mission flight, an F-22 dropped a GBU-32 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) while flying at an altitude of 50000 feet and traveling at speed of Mach 1.5. The aircraft was able to strike a moving target nearly 24 miles away with precision.
Although the aircraft carries most of its weapons internally, the wings of the aircraft have four Hardpoints to handle external munitions of 5000 pounds.