Operated by the US Air Force, the F22 is one of the most capable aircraft ever made, and considered a critical component for tactical airpower.
Fighter jets are some of the most advanced military aircraft in the world. And they’ve come a long way since the days of World War I and World War II. We now have fifth generation fighters operating in various air arms across the world, and of course the F-35B Lightning II is one of the most incredible in the world. But there are others out there too, such as the awe-inspiring F-22 Raptor. The Lockheed Martin aircraft first flew in September 1997, yet it still feels like yesterday that the aircraft entered service.
Since then, it has become one of the most expensive fighter aircraft ever made. As you might expect. It is only operated by the United States Air Force and is one of the most capable aircraft ever made, and is now considered a critical component of the United States Air Force’s tactical airpower. It’s hardly been the easiest of births either for the F-22, with production of the aircraft terminated in 2009. But it has become one of the capable jet fighters in the world and a core part of the United States military.
Development And Background Of The F-22
The F-22 has hardly had the easiest existence. The idea for the F-22 was first conceived back in 1981, as the US Air Force (USAF) looked for a replacement for its F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Air Force needed to keep up with new Soviet aircraft of the time as well as the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker and the Mikoyan MiG-29, two of the most advanced fighters of the time. Companies were then invited to bid on a contract to build the new aircraft, with Lockheed and Northrop becoming the final two.
In the end, between the bidding aircraft and engine manufacturers it was ultimately Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney that won out over Northrop and General Electric. The first F-22 was first revealed in April 1997, and it first took to the skies on September 7th that same year. The new technologies involved with creating the F-22 saw the program incur massive overruns in terms of cost and delays, with the total cost of the program estimated to be around the $67.3 billion mark as the final F-22 left the production line in 2011. Amazingly, the F-35 is cheaper than the F-22 despite its own problems.