F-22 Raptor Pic GalleryBy 1980, the F-15 was widely acknowledged as the world's finest fighter, and this state of affairs seemed likely to persist for many years after. By the end of the century, however, despite more powerful engines and improved weapons systems, it would become increasingly obsolete. What would be needed was a new fighter capable of operating in the face of advanced air defense systems, without incurring an unacceptable loss rate. This problem was to be attacked on two fronts; speed and stealth. Maximum speeds have been largely irrelevant over the past three decades. They take forever to reach, and if you ever do, the fuel warning light comes on and you have to slow down. At the same time, it has always been true that an appreciable speed advantage gives the initiative in combat. Therefore the really important speed parameter is sustained cruise. The F-22A is slightly larger than the F-15 which it is to replace. The trapezoidal wing is swept back at 48 degrees on the leading edge and forward by 17 degrees o the trailing edge, in a radar-emission deflection measure. The nose is small and pointed, presumably because the active array radar takes up less space than a conventional antenna, and has a distinct shine around it. at the other end, the vectoring nozzles are angled to deflect radar, but they cannot be shielded by the afterbody in the same way as the YF-23. The F-22 is reported to handle well, and angles of attack of 60 degrees were reached at an early stage without problems. A supercruise speed of Mach 1.58 was attained during trails, and no problems in separation of gas ingestion were experienced with missile launching from internal bays, which are located on the outside of the engine ducts.

Origin: Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics
Type: Single Seater Air Superiority Fighter
Length: 64ft 2.5in
Height: 17ft 8.5in
Wing span: 43ft
Wing Area: 830sq ft
Engines: Two 35,000lb P&W F119-100 augmented turbofans with vectoring thrust nozzles
Max speed: Mach 2.5 at altitude(rumored at Mach 3), Mach 1.21 S/L, Sustained supercruise speed Mach 1.4-1.5
Ceiling: 70,000ft
Armament: One 20mm Multi-Barrel Cannon, Four AIM-120 Amraam and four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles carried internally, and a range of Air-Ground Ordanance