A great video on the worlds most feared stealth technology of the US Military F-22 The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities. The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, built most of the F-22's airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.
The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 before it formally entered service in December 2005 as the F-22A. After a protracted development and despite operational issues, the USAF considers the F-22 critical to its tactical air power, and says that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter. The Raptor's combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities.
The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile F-35 led to the end of F-22 production.[N 1] A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009, and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.
Main articles: Advanced Tactical Fighter and Lockheed YF-22
ATF SPO Patch (1990)
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. The program was managed by the Advanced Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office (ATF SPO) located at Wright Patterson AFB.
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.