The F/A-22 Raptor, developed at Aeronautical
Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the replacement
for the F-15 Eagle air-superiority fighter This
aircraft combines stealth design with the supersonic, highly manoeuvrable,
dual-engine, long-range requirements of an air-to-air fighter and will
have an inherent air-to-ground capability. The F/A-22’s integrated
avionics gives it first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability that
will guarantee U.S. air dominance for the next 40 years.
Performance estimates give the F/A-22 a speed of Mach 1.5 in non-afterburning supercruise mode, and a speed of Mach 2.0 or above with afterburner. Service ceiling is thought to be over 15 kilometers (50,000 feet) and the maximum range is believed to be over 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles). Flight tests demonstrate that the F/A-22 combines good handling characteristics with very high maneuverability.
* The F/A-22 is constructed of titanium alloys (39% by weight); composites (24%); aircraft aluminum alloy (16%); and thermoplastics (1%). Advanced titanium welding techniques and composite fabrication are used in the aircraft's construction. "Radar absorbent material (RAM)" is used in critical locations to reduce the aircraft's radar signature, and the aircraft's contours are intended to make it less conspicuous to radar. Apertures, such as weapons bay and landing gear doors, have zigzag edges to break up radar returns. A overall coating reduces the aircraft's infrared signature as well. While older stealth aircraft require substantial maintenance, careful handling, and protection from weather to keep them stealthy, the F/A-22 will not require extraordinary efforts to maintain its stealth characteristics.
The F/A-22's twin Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 engines are leading-edge powerplants. The F-119's ability to provide supersonic cruise without afterburner provides the F/A-22 with one of its most important capabilities, with supercruise at Mach 1.5+ demonstrated in flight tests. It has a high power-to-weight ratio (PWR) of 1.4:1, and can deliver 156 kN (15,900 kgp / 35,000 lbf) afterburning thrust. The F119 has a minimized parts count and has been designed for maintainability. Important components, harnesses, and plumbing were placed on the bottom of the engine to improve ground crew access, and all components can be removed or replaced with one of six standard tools. The digital engine control modules are redundant, with two controllers per engine and two computers per controller, to improve reliability.
LOCKHEED MARTIN F/A-22 RAPTOR:
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spec metric english
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wingspan 13.56 meters 44 feet 6 inches
wing area 78.04 sq_meters 840 sq_feet
length 18.92 meters 62 feet 1 inch
height 5.05 meters 16 feet 7 inch
empty weight 19,493 kilograms 42,974 pounds
MTO weight 36,288 kilograms 80,000 pounds
max speed at altitude 2,130 KPH 1,325 MPH / 1,150 KT
supercruise speed 1,810 KPH 1,125 MPH / 980 KT
service ceiling 18,288 meters 60,000 feet
combat radius 700 kilometers 430 MI / 375 NMI
ferry range 3,330 kilometers 2,070 MI / 1,800 NMI
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The F119 engine includes thrust vectoring exhaust nozzles that can traverse 20 degrees up and down to improve the Raptor's maneuverability in low-speed combat. The nozzles are automatically directed by the F/A-22's flight control system. The exhaust does not emit visible smoke under proper operating conditions and provides a low infrared signature. Engine starting, as well as ground power, is provided by an auxiliary power unit (APU).
The F/A-22 features eight internal fuel tanks, and there is a boom-refueling socket in the middle of the back. The internal fuel tanks are normally flooded with nitrogen to reduce the danger of fire from fuel fumes. The nitrogen is derived from the atmosphere by an on-board nitrogen generation system. The F/A-22 also includes a fire-fighting capability, consisting of infrared and ultraviolet sensors linked to a Halon 1301 fire extinguishing system. While Halon is an ozone-attacking Freon, designers are searching for "green" alternatives, and the fire extinguishing system was designed to allow the storage of alternative agents with up to 2.5 times the volume of Halon.
* The pilot has an excellent view through the frameless canopy, which is designed to reduce radar reflections. A slightly modified version of the proven Boeing ACES II ejection seat, used on the F-15 and F-16, is used on the Raptor. The F/A-22 features an "On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS)", eliminating the need to stock oxygen bottles.
The cockpit control layout features six high-intensity color liquid crystal panel displays, plus a wide-angle holographic "heads-up display (HUD)". The displays are functionally partitioned as follows:
The primary display provides a plan view of the air and ground tactical situation, with identification, prioritization, and tracking of multiple threats.
Two displays are for communications, navigation, and general flight information. The remaining three secondary displays show air and ground threats and stores management information.
The HUD gives target and weapons status, as well as cues and aids for weapons targeting and launch.
The cockpit features "hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS)" controls that allow the pilot to execute command functions without letting go of the flight controls. Although the USAF's initial ideas for the ATF had envisioned "direct voice input (DVI)" controls, DVI was finally judged too technically risky and abandoned.
The F/A-22 includes a single General Electric M61A2 Vulcan 20 millimeter Gatling-type cannon in the right wing root. The Vulcan is a thoroughly proven weapon that's basically been in service since the late 1950s. Ammunition store is 480 rounds, with a linkless feed system. The cannon was not fitted in the YF-22 prototypes. The Raptor also has three weapons bays, including a main weapons bay on the bottom of the fuselage and a small weapons bay on the side of each air intake.
The main weapons bay can accommodate six AMRAAMs, or two AMRAAMs and a pair of bombs. The AMRAAMs are the AIM-120C "compressed carriage" variant, designed with short flight surfaces specifically for carriage in the F/A-22's weapons bay. An AMRAAM is thrown away from the aircraft by a "Vertical Ejector Launcher (VEL)" before ignition. The bombs are envisioned as being either 450 kilogram (1,000 pound) "Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)" GPS-guided bombs or "Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD)" inertially-guided cluster bombs.
Each side weapons bay can accommodate a single AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, capable of "off boresight" attacks as directed by the pilot's Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS). The doors pop open and the Sidewinder is deployed out into the airstream at an angle to give its seeker a good field of view. The Raptor can also be fitted with a total of four underwing stores pylons for fuel or external stores, though this sacrifices the aircraft's stealth characteristics, and is intended mainly for carriage of ferry tanks.
"Small diameter bombs (SDBs)", previously known as "small smart bombs", have been under development that would allow the F/A-22, with its modest attack load without external stores, to take on more than two targets on a single strike sortie. An F/A-22 will be able to carry from 8 to 12 SDBs internally, along with two AMRAAMs and two Sidewinders. Some cynics have suggested that the main rationale behind development of the SDB is simply to help justify the F/A-22's existence. This may be so, but a small and effective smart munition would clearly be valuable in itself, greatly extending the strike effectiveness of any attack aircraft.
* The heart of the F/A-22's electronics capabilities is the "AN/APG-77" radar system, though it is so much more than a radar that some prefer to call it a "multifunction RF system" instead.
With the AN/APG-77, the F/A-22 is able to detect an enemy aircraft's radar from distances of up to 460 kilometers (250 nautical miles). It can acquire an enemy aircraft at distances of up to 220 kilometers (125 nautical miles), while its "low probability of intercept" radar signals make it very difficult to detect, leaving the "stealthy" F/A-22 will remain invisible to the enemy's radar. Once AIM-120 Extended Range Air To Air Missiles (ERAAM) are available, the F/A-22 will be able to destroy that enemy at a range of 185 kilometers (100 nautical miles). In many cases, the enemy will be hit without warning.
The AN/APG-77 is built around an "Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)", which consists of an array of about 1,500 transmitters-receiver (T/R) modules that are linked together by high-speed processors. The AESA can obtain electronics intelligence; jam enemy electronic systems; provide surveillance; and perform secure voice and datalink communications, in principle all at the same time. The AESA can simultaneously emit several tight beams to perform different functions. One program official commented: "Anything that can be done with X-band RF can be done with that antenna."
Although the Air Force considered auxiliary side-mounted arrays for the AN/APG-77 they were abandoned due to cost, and the AESA is limited to a field of view 120 degrees across in the forward direction. Other antennas provide missile and radar warning behind the aircraft. The airframe still includes provisions for the side-mounted arrays, and they could be reinstated at a future time.
When operating as a radar, the AN/APG-77 transmits waveforms that change from burst to burst, and are sent at random frequencies. Such a changing signal is very difficult for an enemy to detect and analyze. If adversaries do manage to detect the signal, they must then try to get a radar lock on the F/A-22 so it can be attacked. The F/A-22's stealthiness makes this tricky in the first place, but to make matters more troublesome, the AESA also analyses the enemy's radar and sends out a jamming burst to disrupt the lock. The AESA then goes on to other tasks until the enemy radar begins its lock cycle again.
The AN/APG-77 is not intended to give the F/A-22 a "standoff jamming" capability, such as that provided by electronic warfare aircraft like the Grumman EA-6B Prowler, blinding enemy radars over wide areas on a continuous basis. The AN/APG-77's mission is mainly to allow the F/A-22 to fight effectively while remaining difficult to detect. A standoff jamming platform, in contrast, can't help but advertise its presence. Between dealing with active threats, the AESA collects information on the "electronic order of battle (EOB)" in the operational area, locating electronic systems, classifying them, and alerting the pilot to possible threats or high-priority targets.
The AN/APG-77 was a pioneer in operational development of the AESA. Later development of the concept for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has led to cheaper and more powerful AESA systems, and production F/A-22s feature a much improved AN/APG-77 based on this improved technology. The production AESA system also includes a "synthetic aperture radar (SAR)" mode to provide all-weather ground imaging, a very useful capability in the strike role.
Other F/A-22 electronic and defensive subsystems include:
A BAe Systems AN/ALR-94 passive receiver system, which has capabilities along the lines of a "radar homing & warning system (RHAWS)" used on a defense-suppression aircraft, able to characterize, locate, and target emitters.
A secure "Intra-Flight Datalink (IFDL)" system to allow cooperation between F/A-22s; other NATO fighter and attack aircraft; and an Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS)" aircraft. It can also download data from reconnaissance platforms. The datalink system provides such capabilities as allowing one F/A-22 to attack a target using the radar system of another F/A-22. The F/A-22 also has a "Joint Tactical Information Display System (JTIDS)" datalink capability; it is unclear if this is associated with the IFDL or if it is a separate datalink system.
A Global Positioning System satellite navigation receiver, backed up by a ring-laser gyro inertial navigation system.
Other kit that the Air Force has remained silent about include missile warning gear and active infrared defensive countermeasures. Of course, the Raptor has standard communications gear and identification friend or foe (IFF) systems.
The F/A-22's avionics were designed to allow a single crewman to perform missions traditionally reserved for two-seat aircraft. Almost all electronics gear on board is integrated by two "Common Integrated Processors (CIPs)". They are based on commercial off-the-shelf electronics and have evolved through a number of configurations as more computing power has become available; the original CIPs would have been put to shame by any modern low-cost personal computer.
The CIPs handle almost all the F/A-22's electronics functions. The CIPs provide a degree of self-test and reconfigurability that can keep the F/A-22 flying even with battle damage. The Raptor is run by 2.5 million lines of software, with about 90% of it written in the Department of Defense's Ada language. Ada was not used for all the software because some functions required optimizations, and so waivers were granted.
The entire F/A-22 is thoroughly wired for self-test. Almost every subsystem can check itself for faults and report its operational status. Ground crews can monitor the health of the aircraft through a laptop computer, configured as a "Portable Maintenance Aide (PMA)". The PMA can list faults and perform diagnoses, as well as check the level of consumables such as fuel and oil. Overall maintenance demands for the F/A-22 are estimated to be half or less that for an F-15, and the Raptor's estimated three-hour mean time between maintenance is three times that of the F-15.
While the USAF wants to acquire a next-generation long range strategic
bomber to replace the B-1 and B-2 currently flying, such an aircraft won't
be in service until about 2030, and so the Air Force is considering an
"interim solution", to be in service by 2015. In response,
Lockheed Martin has proposed a derivative of the F-22, tentatively known
as the "FB-22".
Early concepts for the FB-22 envisioned a stretched aircraft with a
clipped delta wing, but the stretch would substantially increase cost and
make meeting the 2015 deadline difficult. The current concept envisions
much the same fuselage of the F/A-22 mated to a new wing with about three
times the area. The wing would be "wet", providing fuel storage
that would triple the FB-22's unrefueled range compared to the F/A-22,
though this is still short of what the Air Force wants.
The main weapons bays would be fitted with bulged doors to permit
carriage of more or larger munitions, and the the FB-22 could carry two to
four stealthy underwing pods, raising the total load of SDBs from 8 to 35.
It would also be able to carry a 2,270 kilogram (5,000 pound) heavy
bunker-busting bomb. It could carry two AMRAAMs for self-defense, while
the cannon would be deleted. Total warload would be 6,800 kilograms
(15,000 pounds) when stealth is a mission requirement; twice that when
stealth isn't needed.
Air dominance is mandatory for future success. Since World War II, air
dominance has carried the day in all conflicts. When air dominance has not
been absolute, as in the Vietnam War, the result has been extensive loss
of aircraft and loss of strategic advantage.
Air dominance minimizes U.S. casualties and losses. Air dominance,
provided by the F/A-22, guarantees freedom of manoeuvrability for ground,
air and naval forces. It protects militarily important infrastructures,
such as command and control facilities, power grids and factories, while
increasing the efficiency of other military operations.
The FB-22 would feature the latest generation of F/A-22 avionics, though
built-in targeting systems would be added, possibly leveraged from the
F-35; enhanced, modernized stealth characteristics; and improved F119
engines with more power and better fuel economy, though without
thrust-vectoring nozzles. The FB-22 would be capable of supersonic
performance, but not supersonic cruise. The Air Force would like a
two-seat configuration, which has already been designed for the cancelled
F-22B; the second seat would involve fitting a 1.5 meter (5 foot) forward
fuselage plug. Lockheed Martin is considering whether the tailfins can be
deleted on the FB-22, reducing cost and improving stealth at some expense
in flight-control software.
The Air Force is still tinkering with various concepts for their
"interim solution" strike platform, but Lockheed Martin says
they can move quickly if given the go-ahead, fitting the new wing to an
existing F/A-22 prototype for evaluation. Production would have to be
initiated in 2011 for an in-service date of 2015.
The F/A-22 will not just serve the Air Force; it will serve all surface
forces as well. It has been almost 50 years since U.S. ground forces have
been threatened by enemy air attacks; the F/A-22 is the best aircraft
available to extend that timeline indefinitely.
The air threat to the United States in the year 2005 and beyond is
- Current U.S. ground combat doctrine is rooted in high-tempo,
around-the-clock operations. The F/A-22 will best support these
nonstop operations with its superior capabilities, higher sortie rate
and low maintenance requirements
- The key to success in modern warfare is air dominance — control of
- The F/A-22 is a national asset that will guarantee our soldiers,
sailors, airmen and marines the ability to operate free from air
- Without the F/A-22, "acceptable combat attrition" would
replace air dominance
- Current Russian fighters are already on par with America’s best
fighter, the F-15. Europe's and Russia's newest class of fighters will
surpass the F-15; they are set to roll off production lines by 2005
- At least three foreign aircraft threaten to surpass the F-15’s
performance in the near future: the French Rafale, the Eurofighter
2000 and the Russian Su-35. Some foreign aircraft are already at
parity with the F-15
- Nations are already denying America access to airspace around the
globe by obtaining low-cost, but sophisticated, surface-to-air missile
- Highly capable surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems pose a
formidable challenge to the F-15’s survivability. Advanced SAM
systems, because of their relatively low cost, are a quick and easy
way for countries to modernize their air defense systems
- Estimated twenty-one countries will possess the most advanced
systems by 2005
The F/A-22 provides America with an asymmetric
advantage in the air as well as on the ground. These are the primary
attributes of America’s premier 21st-century transformational system.
The balanced design of the F/A-22 incorporates performance (supercruise,
maneuver advantage, acceleration), reliability, maintainability and
supportability (high readiness, self-sufficiency, reduced support),
survivability (low observability), integrated avionics, optimum payload
and affordability (low life-cycle cost, reduced deployability costs).
The F/A-22 incorporates the latest technological gains in reduced
observables, avionics, materials, engine performance and aerodynamic
design. Knowledge gained from proven weapon systems such as the F-15 ,
F-16 and F-117A formed the foundation for F/A-22 development.
The synergistic effect of all its characteristics ensures F/A-22 lethality
against an advanced air threat. The combination of reduced observability
and supercruise drastically shrinks surface-to-air engagement envelopes
and minimizes threat capability to engage and shoot the F/A-22.
F/A-22 is flying today with more than 6000 flight test hours and is
meeting or exceeding all Air Dominance Key Performance Parameters.