The first flight of the F-22 occurred on September 7th, 1997. The Raptor entered operational service in December of 2005.
The Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor is a single seat, twin-engined air superiority fighter. Developed as a replacement for the F-15 Eagle, which entered service in the 1970's, the Raptor sets a new standard for air technology. Equipped with two 35,000-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 afterburning turbofan engines, the top speed of the F-22 exceeds mach 2.4 (1,600 mph-2570 km/h), while its aerodynamically efficient airframe allows it to "supercruise" at mach 1.72 (1,140 mph-1830 km/h) at military (non-afterburning) thrust.
The Raptor's airframe is made up of mostly carbon fiber composite panels and titanium, which serves as the cornerstone of the Raptor's stealthy profile. In addition, the Raptor is equipped with vectorable thrust nozzels on the engines which improve the aircraft's maneuverability.
The Raptor is equipped with a Northrop Grumman and Raytheon AN/APG-77 AESA (active electronically scanned array) solid-state radar. Made up of 2000 individual transmit/receive antenna, the APG-77 beam can be "steered" instantly by the pilot (conventional radars rely on physically moving the radar antenna to scan a region.)
The F-22 is armed with a single internally mounted General Electric M61A1 20mm rotary cannon with 480 rounds of ammunition. For air superiority missions the Raptor can carry up to two AIM-9 Sidewinder short range infrared missiles and six AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range radar guided missles. For air to ground missions the Raptor can carry two Sidewinders and either two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) or as many as eight 250-pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs. To maintain its stealthy profile all weapons are carried in internal bays, though it is equipped with 4 external wing hardpoints, each rated to 5,000 pounds.
27th Fighter Squadron, Langly AFB
|F-22 Raptor Model|
The F-22 Raptor is the next generation air superiority fighter and the proposed successor to the F-15 Eagle. It was designed for long range, air-to-air capability, supersonic flight and stealth characteristics.