Lockheed F-22 Raptor
The Lockheed F-22 Raptor is a furtive Fighter plan designed by the the United States at the end of the years 1980, in order to replace F-15. Brought into service at the beginning of the year 2000, it has for the moment ordered from less than 200 specimens.
At the beginning of the Years 1980, the administration Reagan began work on program FRA ( Advanced Tactical Fighter ) intended to replace the F-15 and F-16. A first consultation of various manufacturers take place as of June 1981, and the specifications of the new plane were fixed at the end of 1982: capacity supercroisière (Supersonic speed without use of the Post-combustion), operating range of combat higher than 1000 km, landings and takeoffs on 600 meters, weight on takeoff on mission air-to-air lower than 27 tons. After the taking into account of the last projections in furtive technologies, the project was submitted to the manufacturers at the end of 1983 whereas, in parallel, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric were charged to propose an engine for this new plane.
At the end of 1984, the specifications had become more precise: speed as a supercroisière was to reach Mach 1,5 while the weight on takeoff was lowered to 22 tons. The unit costs were him fixed at 40 million US Dollar (of 1985). The final invitation to tender was emitted in September 1985 for a forecast of 750 specimens. Seven different manufacturers answered and, in October 1986, the Pentagone announced that two projects had been adopted: that of Lockheed (which had joined meanwhile General Dynamics and Boeing) and that of Northrop (associated meanwhile with McDonnell Douglas).
Two prototypes of each proposal were ordered, that of Lockheed receiving designation YF-22 and that of Northrop designation YF-23. A prototype was to be propelled by the engine Pratt & Whitney F119 and the other by General Electric F120. The project of the YF-22 undergoes several modifications at the time of its final design, in particular a change of the shape of the wings and type of the armament compartments, while USAF renonçait with the use of thrust reversers in order to gain weight.
The first prototype of the YF-22 made its inaugural flight that the September 29th 1990. It was about the plane equipped with engines General Electric F120. The second prototype, with of Pratt & Whitney F119, made its first flight the October 30th 1990. The two planes were tested as a supercroisière one month later, reaching respectively Mach 1,58 and Mach 1,43. With the Post-combustion, both exceeded without problems Mach 2 to 15000 meters. The first shooting of a missile take place at the end of November 1990.
In April 1991, USAF announced that the YF-22 had gained the competition and that the engine selected was Pratt & Whitney F119. Eleven planes of preproduction were ordered, including two two-seaters. Whereas the first prototype was used for ground tests then sent to the museum of USAF, the second was destroyed at the time of an accident in May 1992. The first plane of preproduction made its inaugural flight on September 7th, 1997, with a certain number of modifications of structure compared to YF-22 (shorter fuselage, increased scale, etc).
The program had however much delay (approximately 5 years on the whole) and the costs were largely exceeded (unit price than doubled more). Consequently, two-seater version F-22B was given up and the little by little reduced number of ordered specimens: from the 648 planes envisaged in 1991 (during the winner nomination of the market), one had passed to 339 in 1997 (during the flight of the first plane of preproduction) then to only 295 in 2001. Meanwhile, in front of the insistence of the Congress, Raptor Re-was indicated some time F/A-22 and must be able in the long term to carry out air-to-ground missions.
The first unit of USAF has to receive F-22 was the 43ème Fighter Squadron, based with Tyndall AFB in Florida. Intended for the conversion of the pilots to the new plane, it received 25 Raptors between October 2003 and May 2005. The first operational unit (the 27th Figther Squadron) started to receive its F-22 in May 2005 and was declared operational at the end of this same year.
At July 31st, 2007, the number of F-22 ordered was not any more that of 183 production aircraft, 105 had already been assembled with the Usine Lockheed Martin de Marietta and 99 delivered to USAF.
For the Financial year 2008, USAF envisages the purchase of 20 apparatuses.
Other characteristicsThe forms of F-22 were conceived to reduce to the maximum its signature radar which, with final, is approximately 100 times lower than that of F-15 although the two planes have about the same size. The plane is entirely covered with a painting absorbing the waves radar.
Raptor carries a priori all its armament in 2 side compartments and a ventral compartment, in order to maintain its furtivity. The side compartments can contain 2 missiles AIM-9 Sidewinder each one. The ventral compartment can receive 4 to 6 missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM. F-22 however has 4 pylons under the wings, usable when the furtivity is not essential.
The conduits of the engines can be directed of 40 degrees to the top or bottom, either to improve maneuverability at the time of an aerial combat, or to reduce the takeoff distance.
F-22 is the first military aircraft to lay out of an instrument panel entirely made up of screens LCD multifunction colors, in complement of the system HOTAS and sight head high.
EngagementsNo in September 2007.
YF-22 - demonstrator
- F-22A then F/A-22 - single-seat version for USAF
- F-22B - two-seater version of drive (abandoned)
- FB-22 - version intended for the bombardment (abandoned)
This plane appeared in various books, cartoons, plays data-processing, cartoons and films.
F-22 is visible in following films:
- List of the military aircrafts
- Official site of the manufacturer of F-22
- Site dedicated to F-22
- F-22 on GlobalSecurity.org
- F-22 on the site of Joseph F. Baugher
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