The F-22 Raptor: Program & Events
November 13/19: Talking To F-35 The US Air Force announced plans to test a secure data link between its F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter planes without identifying the planes’ locations, Defense One reports. The first test will be in December. It is an element in the US military’s goal of a comprehensive Multi-Domain Command and Control network encompassing the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force across land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace domains. Part of the challenge is figuring out what precisely an F-22 and F-35 should say to each other, and what pilots and their commanders should do with that information. The multirole F-35 was designed to integrate lots of data from various other sensors and drones across the battlefield. The F-22, designed primarily for air dominance, was not. Each pilot’s view of the battlefield and everything in it is very different.
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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