The F-22 Raptor: Program & Events
April 13/21: Not ready! The US military’s ability to meet demands has largely degraded over the past two decades, according to a Government Accountability Office report. “GAO found that reported domain readiness did not meet readiness recovery goals identified by the military services,” it said. The report spotlighted “the effects of Hurricane Michael and its associated infrastructure limitations on the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jets; the effects of trained pilot shortages on the Army’s AH-64 attack helicopter; and the effects of limited depot repair capacity on the Marine Corps’ light attack helicopters.”
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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