The Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor is the world's first stealthy air dominance fighter. Its radar, weapons control and electronic warfare systems work together as one integrated unit. The Raptor combines stealth, maneuverability and the ability to fly long distances at supersonic speeds -- or "supercruise" -- in performance of air superiority and air-to-ground missions. Furthermore, it requires less maintenance than older fighters.
In 1981 the U.S. Air Force needed a new air superiority fighter that would take advantage of new technologies in fighter design including composite materials, lightweight alloys, advanced flight control systems, higher power propulsion systems and stealth technology. Lockheed Martin's F-22 won the design competition in April 1991, and the rollout ceremony for the first F-22 Raptor occurred in April 1997.
The Raptor successfully completed its initial operational and test evaluation in 2004, and the program received approval for full rate production. In December 2005 operational aircraft were designated F-22As.
Production of the F-22A is a partnership between Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney. Boeing builds the Raptor's wings and aft-fuselage; the engines come from Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin builds the forward fuselage and assembles the subsections in Marietta, Ga.
On May 12, 2005, the Raptor program achieved a historic milestone with the delivery of the first combat-capable Raptor to the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. In January 2006 the 27th Fighter Squadron flew the first operational mission with the F-22 in support of Operation Noble Eagle (the official name given to the defense of U.S. borders).
From the very beginning, the F-22A exceeded the USAF's expectations, and during exercises and deployments, it proved to be more than a match for any fighter opposing it.
During the highly realistic Exercise Northern Edge 2006, the F-22 proved itself against as many as 40 "enemy aircraft" during simulated battles. The Raptor pilots achieved a 108-to-zero "kill" ratio against the best F-15, F-16 and F-18 "adversaries." The stealthy F-22A also proved that it could avoid and destroy enemy surface to air missiles, and recorded an impressive 97 percent mission capability rate.
Specifically noting the Raptor's performance at Northern Edge, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) awarded its 2006 Robert J. Collier Trophy, considered America's most prestigious award for aeronautical and space development, to the Lockheed Martin Corp.-led F-22 Raptor aircraft team "for designing, testing and operating" the Raptor. Team members included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE Systems. This amazing aircraft was described as "the most efficient and effective fighter in history, through exceptional performance and outstanding safety features."
The aircraft on display (S/N 91-4003) was one of nine F-22s built for Engineering, Manufacture and Development (EMD) testing, and it rolled off the Lockheed Martin assembly line in Georgia on May 22, 1999. Assigned to the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the aircraft made its first flight on March 6, 2000. After completing its phase in the test program, this aircraft came to the museum in January 2007. It is painted to represent an F-22A flown by the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
Armament: One 20mm M-61A2 Vulcan cannon with 480 rounds; internal side weapon bays can carry two AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared missiles; and main internal weapon bays can carry either six AIM-120C radar-guided missiles (air-to-air loadout) or two AIM-120C missiles and two 1,000-lb GBU-32 JDAMs (air-to-ground loadout)
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines of approx. 35,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles
Maximum speed: Approx. Mach 2.0
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