The F-22A fighter first took to the skies in 1997, ushering in a new age in jet fighters and inspiring a host of imitators. Twenty years later the Raptor is still king of the skies. But the fighter — which the U.S. Air Force intends to keep in service until 2060 — is also due for a series of important upgrades to make sure it remains viable.
It is renowned for its radar-evading technology and impressive maneuverability. The US Air Force is planning major updates to modernize the aircraft and keep it competitive in both air-to-air and air-to-ground conflict as China and Russia build up their own air force fleets.
Meet the F-22 Raptor. It’s the most dangerous combat plane in the world, designed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground conflict. 20 years later, the jet fighter’s prowess is unmatched.
F-22 is renowned for its radar-evading technology, and superior maneuverability. It features a titanium composite air frame, clipped delta wings, and 18,000-pound fuel capacity. It has a 1,600 nautical mile range, 44-feet-6-inch wingspan. The F-22 is 62 feet, 1 inch in length and weighs 43,340 pounds. The estimated cost per plane: $143 million.
Its curved edges scatter radar beams in different directions; horizontal tailfins enhance the F-22’s signature maneuverability. Its afterburning turbofan engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine.
The F-22 is the best in the game, but it’s still not perfect. it won’t stay there forever. The Pentagon originally ordered 750 Raptors, but in the end bought less than 200. The fighter is also missing a number of technological innovations developed since its introduction, including advanced networking capabilities allowing it to share data with other U.S. military aircraft and the ability for the pilot to target infrared guided missiles such as the AIM-9X Sidewinder at enemies simply by pointing his or her helmet at them. But now major updates are planned to modernize the aircraft and keep it a competitive stealth fighter into the 2060s. This beast was more popular among fighter jet fan guys in the past. They even made some quotes images about there loving aircraft.
New radar, weapons, and cybersecurity technology are being engineered into the design. Upgraded F-22s will be capable of countering threats from growing Chinese and Russian fleets.
Capabilities of emerging Chinese and Russian stealth fighters are not fully known so for now, the F-22 remains king.