posted by Jiri Wagner
The F-22 is the most advanced fighter of today and probably will remain so for the next 25 years. It is the result of studies started in the early 80s, followed by a competitive fly-off of demonstrators against the Northrop YF-23 in 1990.
First flight was planned for May 1997, but problems like a fuel leak, software glitches, damage to an engine during ground runs and a misbehaving APU forced numerous delays until September 7, when test pilot Paul Metz lifted off from Dobbins AFB (Marietta, GA) for a one-hour mission. Two F-16 were flying chase. The F-22 reached a height of 20000 ft and was put thrugh handling tests and engine transients. Also, the gear was retracted. Another flight a week later was cut short by loss of telemetry. After that, Lockheed will try to transport the F-22 as soon as possible to Edwards AFB, where further testing will be based. The second aircraft should follow in mid-1998. In total, nine prototypes will be involved in a test programme stretching to 2003 and including around 2700 flights. IOC is targeted for 2005, with production stretching to 2013. In the current budget climate, these plans are of course prone to change at any time, as previous programme restructurings have demonstrated.
The Air Force has been training the first generation of Raptor pilots at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and expects the first delivery of fully operational F-22s to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia by late 2005 or early 2006. First time crashed F-22 Raptor on Monday night 22.12.2004 on Nevada desert.
|Primary function||Advanced tactical fighter, stealth|
|Contractor||Lockheed Martin / Boeing|
|Power plant||2 x Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans.Very high dry thrust for supercruise.|
|Thrust||2x 35,000 lb||2x 155 kN|
|Wingspan||44.5 ft||13.56 m|
|Length||62 ft 1 in||18.92 m|
|Height||16 ft 5 in||5.0 m|
|Wingarea||839.6 sq ft||78 sq m|
|Weight||empty||30,000 lb||13,608 kg|
|max. takeoff||60,000 lb||27,216 kg|
|Speed||max.||Mach 1.8 2||2,148-2,387 km/h|
|cruising||Mach 1.55||1,850 km/h|
|Ceiling||50,000 ft||15,240 m|
|Range||over 1,865 miles||3,000 km|
|Armament||Four internal weapons bays and four underwings points: 1 x General Electric M61A2 canon with 480 rounds linkless 20-mm-ammunition, 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder in side-bays, 4 x AIM-120A AMRAAM or 6 x AIM-120C AMRAAM, 2 x GBU-32 JDAM, 450 kg bomb|
|Unit cost||$71.2 million|
F-22 at Langley AFB