The F-22 Raptor: Program & Events
December 24/19: Sustainment Lockheed Martin Aeronautics won a $7 billion modification for F-22 air vehicle sustainment. The modification provides for the exercise of an option for additional five year ordering period for comprehensive F-22 air vehicle sustainment. The fifth generation fighter, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, quickly and over long distances, and overcome threats that attempt to deny access to the Air Force, Army, Navy and the US Marine Corps UU. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. The combination of the F-22 Stealth Raptor, supercube capacity, maneuverability and integrated avionics, together with an improved support capacity, represents an exponential leap in the combat capabilities of previous generations of fighters. The Raptor performs air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing the full realization of vital operational concepts for the 21st Century Air Force. The work will be carried out in five operational bases: Elmendorf-Richardson Joint Base, Alaska; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Tyndall AFB, Florida; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and in six support locations: Edwards AFB, California; Palmdale, California; Hill AFB, Utah; Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; Sheppard AFB, Texas; and Warner Robins AFB, Georgia; as well as in other potential locations in the United States and abroad, combat deployment and road support bases, potential locations through deposit association agreements and system program office locations. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2032.
The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.
Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.
This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.
The F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor: Program
Flyaway Costs & Budgets
Raptor, Redux: Upgrading the Fleet
Long-Term Maintenance Programs
F-22 Raptor: Key Events
2014 – 2017
F-22 Raptor: Contracts & Production
FY 2005 and Earlier (Incomplete)
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: The F-22
Background: Official Reports
Background: F-22 Program
News & Views
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