F-22A Raptor, FB-22, F-22E, F-22N and Variants Index Page [Click for more ...] People's Liberation Army Air Power Index Page  [Click for more ...]
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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014






Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor
F-22A Raptor, FB-22 and Proposed Variants



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).





#1 - Survival In Combat Against Modern Weapons

Proliferation of Advanced High Technology Missiles and Aircraft

Since the end of the Cold War, the Russian and Chinese defence industries have absorbed most of the advanced technology in the globalised market. The most recent generation of radars, Surface to Air Missiles and fighter aircraft they have developed can produce air defence systems which are completely impenetrable to all United States combat aircraft other than the F-22A Raptor and B-2A Spirit. The new stealthy Sukhoi PAK-FA directly challenges the F-22A Raptor. The result of this is that the United States will lose access to many theatres of operation on the global stage, as these new weapons proliferate, unless the United States deploys ~700 F-22A Raptors - the number originally planned for in the first place.



Chengdu J-XX [J-20] Stealth Fighter Prototype; A Preliminary Assessment

Assessing the Sukhoi PAK-FA

Surviving the Modern Integrated Air Defence System / Assessing the F-22 Raptor

Russian High Technology Weapons: Transforming the Strategic Balance in Asia

Assessing Russian Fighter Technology

The Russian Philosophy of Beyond Visual Range Air Combat

Flanker Radars in Beyond Visual Range Air Combat

Sukhoi Flanker Fighter Technical Analysis

Russian Counter Stealth Radars

Hybridisation of Surface to Air Missile Systems

Surface to Air Missile System Radar Index

SA-10, SA-20 and SA-21 Surface to Air Missile Systems

SA-12 and SA-23 Surface to Air Missile Systems








#2 - There Are NO Alternatives to the F-22 Raptor

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is NOT a Substitute for the F-22 Raptor

The widely held view in Western bureaucratic circles, that the F-22 and F-35 are interchangeable aircraft, is not true and can never be true. The F-22 provides close to three times the capability of the F-35 at a similar unit procurement cost. The F-35 lacks the performance of the F-22, the survivability of the F-22, the firepower of the F-22, and the deployability of the F-22. The limitations of the F-35 are inherent in its basic design and cannot be fixed by design modifications or upgrades. Poorly defined basic specifications for the F-35 and inadequate prototyping have resulted in an expensive aircraft which cannot be used in combat situations other than benign, requires support by a lot of F-22 Raptors and aerial tankers, and requires long concrete runways for overseas deployments.



Assessing Joint Strike Fighter Defence Penetration Capabilities / Stealth Modelling

Assessing Joint Strike Fighter Air Combat Capabilities

Assessing Progress on the Joint Strike Fighter Program

Assessing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Will the US Air Force be Annihilated in the Next War?

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - A Cold War Anachronism?

Back to the Future: Joint Strike Fighter = Thunderchief II?








#3 - Legacy Fighters Are No Longer Viable
Decline of the Legacy US Fighter Fleet of F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s

Most of the legacy US fighter fleet was built during the late Cold War period, and was designed during the 1970-1980s. Not only are these aircraft no longer able to survive against modern Russian designed fighter and air defence technology, but the F-15C, F-16A-D and F/A-18A-D air combat fighters are increasingly suffering from airframe structural fatigue life exhaustion. Much of the F-15C fleet has also suffered from manufacturing defects in their structure, further shortening the life of these fighters. The F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter fleet was recently retired altogether. Unless the United States industry manufactures a significant number of new and survivable fighters over the next decade, we will observe a large reduction in United States fighter fleet sizes. Of all of the fighters currently being produced in the United States, only the F-22 provides a good return on investment.



F/A-18E/F Super Hornet vs. Sukhoi Flanker

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

F-15E Dual Role Fighter

Lockheed F-117A Stealth Fighter

Managing Ageing Aircraft










Without sufficient numbers of F-22 Raptors the United States military will soon lose the conventional strategic advantage it has enjoyed since 1945.



Numbers Matter: Strategic Consequences of F-22 Termination

When America’s Stealth Monopoly Ends, What's Next?

Air Combat: Russia’s PAK-FA versus the F-22 and F-35


Will the US Air Force be Annihilated in the Next War?


F-35 JSF: Cold War Anachronism Without a Mission








F-22 Raptor - Derivatives and Proposed Variants

The F-22 Raptor is the only viable combat aircraft design left in the Western world, following the emergence of the T-50 PAK-FA and J-XX/J-20 stealth fighter designs. Further evolution of the F-22 series and the development of derivative designs is the only path left for US air power which can produce viable numbers of viable designs in a reasonable timeline.



Air Force FB-22 Bomber Concept


Navalising the F-22 Raptor - Restoring America's Maritime Air Dominance

F-22A Raptors for the Marine Corps









F-22A Raptor - The Australian Context

In the words of the Chief of the Defence Force (formerly the  Chief of Air Force) -

'The F/A-22 will be the most outstanding fighter aircraft ever built. ... Every fighter pilot in the Air Force would dearly love to fly it.'

Now in full rate production, the F-22A is far superior to the JSF currently envisaged by the Department as the RAAF's future combat aircraft. Unfortunately, the F-22A has been the subject of intensive yet always dishonest criticism in Australia, most often through misrepresentations of the aircraft's diverse capabilities, its applicability to Australia's needs and its affordability.

The Director of the New Air Combat Capability (D-NACC) has claimed in the media and representations to Government and the Parliament that -

'There's more to air combat capability than just speed, thrust, payload and wing loading. Air combat in the 21st century is all about systems and networks of systems - the old rules of thumb about what gives you a winning edge are obsolete.' (D-NACC, Canberra, Defence Watch Seminar, May 2004)

This statement is a good example of the reactive and convoluted thinking which has pervaded our Department of Defence since the late 1990s and is reminiscent of other great faux pas in military capability planning (eg. the British TSR-2 Fiasco [Click for more ...] and the infamous Duncan Sandys 1957 Defence White Paper which almost killed British aviation).

The claim that 'Air combat in the 21st century is all about systems and networks of systems' represents only half the story - a propensity for which is a common ailment in Defence today - and, with the proliferation of like systems in our region, will only maintain parity with other regional capabilities.

The statement that '...the old rules of thumb about what gives you a winning edge are obsolete' is of most concern and reflects a view held by some in Russell Offices that the fighter pilot's holy grail of being able to engage, disengage and re-engage at will throughout the space/time continuum of air combat, while staying outside an opponent's kill envelope, no longer applies.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as the air combat kill ratio of the supercruising, high agility F-22A attests, and the soon to emerge supercruising derivatives of the high agility Su-30 family of aircraft will attest. With the advent of agile and smart stand off weaponry, the day of the 'canopy to canopy' air combat knife-fight portrayed in the Hollywood film, 'Top Gun', may well be over.

However, it is being replaced by the even more demanding, in both situational awareness and kinematics, aerial manoeuvring which now takes place 'Beyond Visual Range', where the fighter pilot's holy grail will continue to be the determinant as to whether one lives or dies.

This website will post a selection of relevant articles, submissions and papers.







Raptor performs first drop of small diameter bomb. An F-22 Raptor drops a small diameter bomb from its weapons bay during a test mission Sept. 5. The test marks the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22. Testing of the SDB with the F-22 is part of the Increment 3.1 upgrade to the aircraft. Maj. Jack Fischer, 411th Flight Test Squadron test pilot noted that  "Targets we can't get with most weapons, we can get with the F-22 because we have stealth, with this weapon and aircraft, there is no place we can't reach and no place for an enemy to hide." (Photo by Darin Russell, Text by 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs, US Air Force).

An early production  F-22A at Tyndall AFB
(U.S. Air Force photo)


F-22A Exercises and Deployments [Click for more ...]

What would an F-22A Raptor look like in RAAF colours? [Click for more ...]



F-22 Raptor Topics





Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia
Jan 2007
F-22A Raptor Analysis
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Apr 2005
F/A-22 Raptor - Stealth, Supercruise, Firepower [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Air Power International
Sep 1998
JUST HOW GOOD IS THE F-22 RAPTOR? Carlo Kopp interviews F-22 Chief Test Pilot, Paul Metz
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today Jan 2008
Pacific Raptors:  F-22A based in Alaska [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Aug 2007
Operating the F-22 Raptor - A 1st Fighter Wing USAF Perspective [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Apr 2007
Maritime Strike using the F-22A Raptor
Andrew McLaughlin Australian Aviation Apr 2006
F-22 Raptor - No Longer a Fair Fight [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Air & Space Power Chronicles, Maxwell AF Jul 2000
EXPANDING THE ENVELOPE - Stealth and Other Strike Roles, Mirror@APA
Peter Goon APA NOTAMS Feb 2008
Why F-22A Raptor instead of F-35A Joint Strike Fighter?
Chris Mills
APA NOTAMS Mar 2009
Air Combat: Russia’s PAK-FA versus the F-22 and F-35
Carlo Kopp
APA NOTAMS Feb 2009
United Kingdom: F-35 or F-22?
Chris Mills and
Peter Goon
APA NOTAMS Feb 2009 Navalising the F-22 Raptor - Restoring America's Maritime Air Dominance
Chris Mills  APA NOTAMS Feb 2009
F-22A Raptors for the Marine Corps
Peter Goon APA NOTAMS Apr 2009
F-22A Raptor: More Bang for the Buck than F-35 JSF….with Far Less Risk
Peter Goon ADA Defender
Q4 2005
Affordability and the new air combat capability [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Defence Today
Sep 2005
Fighter Programs Face Uncertain Future [PDF]
Carlo Kopp and
Peter Goon
HeadsUp Newsletter
Issue 318
Is the JSF really good enough? [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
HeadsUp Newsletter Issue 322
F/A-22As, JSFs and 21st Century air combat [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation Apr 2004
Is the Joint Strike Fighter Right for Australia? Pt.1 [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Australian Aviation May 2004
Is the Joint Strike Fighter Right for Australia? Pt.2 [PDF]
Carlo Kopp
Submission to the Minister for Defence May 1998
Replacing the RAAF F/A-18 Hornet Fighter, Strategic, Operational and Technical Issues


The Parliamentary Debate [Click for more ...]

Related Links [Click for more ...]




F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).



F-22A Raptor of the 3rd Fighter Wing based at Elmendorf, Alaska (© 2010, Jeroen Oude Wolbers).

F/A-22A 27th FS 1st FW May 2005
The first F-22A assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Wing, Langley, Virginia, the first operational unit to fly the F-22A. The aircraft is flown by Lt. Col. James Hecker, USAF,  over Fort Monroe, Virginia, on May 12th, 2005. At full strength the 27th FS will have twenty six F-22A aircraft  (US Air Force photo).

(Lockheed-Martin Image)


An F-22A Raptor performing a test flight early February, 2007, with four GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs on board. The F-22A will carry up to eight SDBs, while retaining two AIM-120 AMRAAMs (US Air Force).


Maj. John Teichert, USAF,  of the  411th Flight Test Squadron performs the first supersonic release of the 1,000 lb GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition over the Mojave test range, on the 14th July, 2005 (US Air Force).

F-22A with AIM-120C
The two most common misconceptions concerning the F-22A in Australia are the belief that the aircraft cannot carry external stores, and the belief that the aircraft cannot perform strike roles effectively. Both ideas are simply falsehoods without substance (U.S. Air Force photo)

F-22A launching AIM-9M
An F-22A Prototype launching an AIM-9M missile from its left  internal bay. The aircraft has two large ventral bays for AIM-120 and guided bombs, and paired bays for short range missiles (US Air Force photo).

F-22A Nose
This portrait shows the nose chining, serrated radome boundary, and cockpit framing. The F-22A is the stealthiest high performance  fighter  ever built (US Air Force photo).

F-22A
This image shows the planform alignment of the F-22A, and especially the careful edge alignment of the thrust vectoring nozzles fitted to the F119-PW-100 supersonic cruise engine (US Air Force photo).

F-22A Edwards
A low altitude pass being flown by Edwards AFB based development aircraft #002 (US Air Force photo).

F-22A FSD
A pair of development aircraft - this image shows the chining and blending to effect (US Air Force photo).

F-22A vs F-15C
An F-15C formates on an F-22A. The F-22A was intended to replace the US Air Force F-15C, it is now likely to also replace the F-117A and F-15E (US Air Force photo).

F-22A + KC-135E
FSD Raptor 002 refuelling from a Boeing KC-135E Stratotanker. The F-22A is NOT a small fighter - it carries nearly 21,000 lb of internal fuel (US Air Force photo).

F-22A + KC-135
434th ARW KC-135 boomer's view of an F-22A taking gas (US Air Force photo).

F-22A + KC-10A
An F-22A refuels from a KC-10A Extender (US Air Force photo).

Stores Pod
Wind tunnel testing of a stealthy external stores pod, designed to carry weapons such as the GBU-39/B and GBU-40/B Small Diameter Bomb. The pylons are rated for 5,000 lb stores (US Air Force photo).

Proposed FB-22 (Artwork (c) 2003 Carlo Kopp)
The FB-22A 'regional bomber' is a enlarged derivative of the F-22A with a larger wing, proposed primarily to provide a stealthy, supercruising F-111/FB-111A class strike platform (U.S. Air Force original)



YF-23A during Dem/Val Trials
The unsuccessful competitor in the Advanced Tactical Fighter bid was Northrop's YF-23A, which continues to set the benchmark for speed and low observables shaping in second generation stealth fighters. Note the low observable cooled exhaust troughs  (U.S. Air Force photo)





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