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Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor

History and Development

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF).

In 1981 the U.S. Air Force developed a requirement for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) as a new air superiority fighter to replace the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

USAF F-22 Raptors taxiing
U. S. Air Force F-22 Raptors taxiing. USAF Photo

The prototype aircraft (YF-22 and YF-23) both completed their first flights in late 1990. Ultimately the YF-22 was selected as best of the two and the engineering and manufacturing development effort began in 1991 with development contracts to Lockheed/Boeing (airframe) and Pratt & Whitney (engines).

After the flight test demonstration and validation of the prototypes, in April of 1991, Secretary of the USAF Donald Rice announced the YF-22 as the winner of the ATF competition.

The F-22 Raptor is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.

The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Significant advances in cockpit design and sensor fusion improve the pilot's situational awareness. In the air-to-air configuration the Raptor carries six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.

The F-22 brings stealth into the day, enabling it not only to protect itself but other assets. The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner -- a characteristic known as supercruise.

The aircraft designation was the F/A-22 for a short time before being renamed F-22A in December 2005.

General Characteristics

Contractor: Lockheed-Martin, Boeing
Power plant: two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners
Thrust: 35,000-pound class (each engine)
Wingspan: 44 feet, 6 inches
Length: 62 feet, 1 inch
Height: 16 feet, 8 inches
Weight: 43,340 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: 83,500 pounds
Speed: mach two class with supercruise capability
Range: more than 1,850 miles ferry range with two external wing fuel tanks (1,600 nautical miles)
Ceiling: above 50,000 feet
December 2005 Inventory: 183

F-22 Raptor Photos

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor takeoff at Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor takeoff at Artic Thunder Air Show
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor in flight at Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor in flight at Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson