Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It is primarily an air superiority fighter, but has multiple capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. The United States Air Force considers the F-22 a critical component of the U.S. strike force. 

Faced with a protracted and costly development period, the aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 during the three years before formally entering US Air Force service in December 2005, as the F-22A. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22. Program partner Boeing Integrated Defense Systems provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and all of the pilot and maintenance training systems. 

The F-22 is claimed by multiple sources to be the most effective air superiority fighter in the world. The US Air Force states that the F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1990
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Lockheed Martin 122 View

In 1981 the U.S. Air Force developed a requirement for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) as a new air superiority fighter to replace the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Code named "Senior Sky", this program was influenced by the emerging worldwide threats, including development and proliferation of Soviet Su-27 "Flanker"- and MiG-29 "Fulcrum"-class fighter aircraft. It would take advantage of the new technologies in fighter design on the horizon, including composite materials, lightweight alloys, advanced flight control systems, more powerful propulsion systems, and stealth technology. The request for proposals (RFP) was issued in July 1986 and two contractor teams, Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics and Northrop/McDonnell Douglas, were selected on 31 October 1986 to undertake a 50-month demonstration phase, culminating in the flight test of two technology demonstrator prototypes, the YF-22 and the YF-23.

Each design team produced two prototype air vehicles, one for each of the two engine options. The Lockheed-led team employed thrust vectoring nozzles on YF-22 for enhanced maneuverability in dogfights. The ATF's increasing weight and cost drove out certain requirements during development. Side-looking radars were deleted, and the dedicated infra-red search and track (IRST) system was downgraded from multi-color to single color and then deleted as well. However, space and cooling provisions were retained to allow for future addition of these components. The ejection seat requirement was downgraded from a fresh design to the existing McDonnell Douglas ACES II.

After the flight test demonstration and validation of the prototypes, on 23 April 1991, Secretary of the USAF Donald Rice announced the YF-22 as the winner of the ATF competition. The YF-23 design was considered stealthier and faster while the YF-22 was more maneuverable. The aviation press speculated that the YF-22 was also more adaptable to the U.S. Navy's Navalized Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF), but by 1992, the Navy had abandoned NATF.

F-22 units are frequently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. In February 2007, on the aircraft's first overseas deployment to Kadena Air Base, six F-22s of 27th Fighter Squadron flying from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, experienced multiple software-related system failures while crossing the International Date Line (180th meridian of longitude). The aircraft returned to Hawaii by following tanker aircraft. Within 48 hours, the error was resolved and the journey resumed. In early 2013, F-22s were involved in U.S.-South Korean military drills.

In November 2007, F-22s of 90th Fighter Squadron performed their first NORAD interception of two Russian Tu-95MS "Bear-H" bombers over Alaska. Since then, F-22s have also escorted probing Tu-160 "Blackjack" bombers. The first pair of F-22s assigned to the 49th Fighter Wing became operational at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, in June 2008. In 2014, Holloman F-22s and their support personnel were reassigned to the reactivated 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB.

Secretary of Defense Gates initially refused to deploy F-22s to the Middle East in 2007. The type made its first deployment in the region at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE in 2009. In April 2012, F-22s have been rotating into Al Dhafra Air Base, less than 200 miles from Iran; the Iranian defense minister referred to the deployment as a security threat. In March 2013 the USAF announced that an F-22 had chased off an Iranian F-4 Phantom II that approached within 16 miles of an MQ-1 Predator flying off the Iranian coastline.

In June 2014, F-22s from the 199th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard were deployed to Malaysia to participate in the Cope Taufan 2014 exercise conducted by the USAF Pacific Air Forces and Royal Malaysian Air Force.

On 22 September 2014, F-22s performed the type's first combat sorties during the American-led intervention in Syria; a number of aircraft dropped 1,000-pound GPS-guided bombs on Islamic State targets in the vicinity of Tishrin Dam. Combat operations by F-22s are planned to continue into the foreseeable future. While some missions involve striking targets, the F-22's main role is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) gathering. By January 2015, the F-22 accounted for three percent of Air Force sorties during Operation Inherent Resolve. General Mike Hostage of ACC said the USAF used tactics, techniques, and procedures to overcome the disparity between the F-22's communications abilities and other assets during the deployment, and that it performed "flawlessly", despite combat operations not being the most challenging. Between September 2014 and July 2015, F-22s flew 204 sorties over Syria, dropping 270 bombs at some 60 locations. On 23 June 2015, a pair of F-22s performed the aircraft's first close air support (CAS) mission after receiving a short-notice request for airstrikes in close proximity to friendly forces.

In late 2014, the USAF was testing a rapid deployment concept involving four F-22s and one C-17 for support, first proposed in 2008 by two F-22 pilots. The goal was for the type to be able to set up and engage in combat within 24 hours. Four F-22s were deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany in August and Lask Air Base in Poland and Amari Air Base in Estonia in September 2015 to train with NATO allie.

Role Stealth air superiority fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
First flight 7 September 1997
Introduction 15 December 2005
Status In service
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced F-22: 1996–2011
Number built 195 (8 test and 187 operational aircraft)
Program cost US$66.7 billion
Unit cost US$150 million (flyaway cost for FY2009)
Developed from Lockheed YF-22
Developed into Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA
Lockheed Martin FB-22

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 62 ft 1 in (18.90 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
  • Wing area: 840 ft (78.04 m)
  • Airfoil: NACA 64A?05.92 root, NACA 64A?04.29 tip
  • Empty weight: 43,430 lb (19,700 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 64,460 lb (29,300 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 83,500 lb (38,000 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 Pitch Thrust vectoring turbofans, 35,000+ lb (156+ kN) each


  • Maximum speed:
    • At altitude: Mach 2.25 (1,500 mph, 2,414 km/h)
    • Supercruise: Mach 1.82 (1,220 mph, 1,963 km/h)
  • Range: 1,600 nmi (1,840 mi, 2,960 km) with 2 external fuel tanks
  • Combat radius: 410 nmi (471 mi, 759 km)
  • Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)
  • Service ceiling 65,000 ft (19,812 m)
  • Wing loading: 66 lb/ft (322 kg/m)
  • Thrust/weight:
    • With full internal fuel: 1.09 (18,000 Pounds)
    • With 50% internal fuel: 1.26 (9,000 Pounds)
  • Maximum g-load: -3.0/+9.0 g


  • Guns: 1 x 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A2 Vulcan gatling gun in starboard wing root, 480 rounds;
  • Air to air loadout: 6 x AIM-120 AMRAAM; 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder;
  • Air to ground loadout: 2 x AIM-120 AMRAAM and 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder as well as 2 x 1,000 lb (450 kg) JDAM or 2 x Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMDs) or 8 x 250 lb (110 kg) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs;
  • Additionally, four external hardpoints can be fitted to carry weapons or fuel tanks, each with a capacity of about 5,000 lb (2268 kg).

End notes