Tag Archives: F-22 Raptor

Lost and Found – December 15th Edition

What to remember about December 15th…

  • 1791  With passage in Virginia, the Bill of Rights is ratified and forms the 1st 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  • 1864  2-day Battle of Nashville begins; Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Hood eliminated as fighting force
  • 1939  Film classic “Gone with the Wind” premiers in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1960  Richard Paul Pavlick is arrested in Palm Beach before he can make 2nd attempt on life of President-elect John F. Kennedy
  • 1961  Nazi war criminal and organizer of Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish Question” Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death by Israeli court
  • 1966  American entertainer and entrepreneur Walter Elias “Walt” Disney dies of cancer in California (b. 1901)
  • 1973  American Psychiatric Association votes 13-0 to remove homosexuality from official list of psychiatric disorders
  • 1978  President Carter announces that U.S. will formally recognize the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) and sever relations with neighboring U.S. ally Taiwan
  • 1998  House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary releases 265-page report recommending impeachment of President Clinton for high crimes and misdemeanors
  • 2005  USAF announces the F-22 Raptor fighter now in service

gone_with_wind

Lost and Found – September 29th Edition

What to remember about September 29th…

  • 1780  John André, British spy and accomplice of Benedict Arnold is convicted and sentenced to hang
  • 1902  Cornerstone of Washington National Cathedral is laid; construction is finally completed on same date in 1990
  • 1918  Allied forces breach the Hindenburg Line; last of the German defenses on the Western Front
  • 1939  After the invasion of Poland, Germany and the Soviet Union agree to divide control of the country between them
  • 1966  The Chevrolet Camaro officially goes on sale at dealerships
  • 1982  The 1st of 7 victims dies in the Chicago Tylenol poisonings
  • 1988  Mountain climber Stacy Allison becomes 1st American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest
  • 1988  Space Shuttle program resumes after Challenger disaster with launch of Discovery
  • 1990  American F-22 Raptor flies for the 1st time
  • 2005  Senate confirms John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • 2006  U.S. Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor dies in Iraq; he will be recognized with the Medal of Honor for his selfless actions

Warbirds – F-22 Raptor

Today’s Warbirds article is on America’s first operational 5th generation fighter aircraft – the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.  Her first flight occurred on 7 September, 1997.

F-22 Raptor wireframe

Initial development of the aircraft was under the moniker YF-22.  It was Lockheed Martin’s entry into the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition.  Though Northrop’s YF-23 was stealthier and faster, the agility of the YF-22 (and possibly the adaptability to carrier operations) won out.  In 1991, the Secretary of the Air Force announced that the Raptor had won the competition and that he would recommend an order of 650 to 750 of the aircraft.

f-22 raptor Wallpaper

Produced at the Lockheed plant in Marietta, Georgia, the first production F-22 was delivered to Nellis AFB in Nevada in January of 2003.  Because of design changes made during development and production as well as rising costs, the Air Force reduced its announced requirement of aircraft to 381 in 2006.  Weight increased and capabilities were dropped; all in the name of cost efficiency.  Also, to garner wider support from Congress, subcontractors in 46 states were granted contracts for components for the aircraft.  It took roughly 1000 contractors and 95,000 workers to produce just two aircraft per month.  this production complexity led to even higher costs and more production delays.  In the end, from the initial order of 750 aircraft with a total cost of $26.2 billion, the Air Force would acquire only 187 Raptors for $66.7 billion.

F-22 Raptor weapon systems 2

The F-22 Raptor has 3 internal weapons bays that help maintain its stealthy mission profile.  It can carry six compressed-carriage medium range missiles in the center bay and one short-range missile in each of the two side bays. Four of the medium range missiles can be replaced with two bomb racks that can each carry one medium-size bomb or four small diameter bombs.  A key feature of this design is to allow weapons launch while maintaining super cruise speeds.  The aircraft does incorporate 4 additional hardpoints on the wings with 5000 pounds of carrying capacity.  However, use of weapons or fuel tanks on these mounts detrimentally affects maneuverability, speed, and stealth.

080921-N-4469F-017

By late 2005, the Raptor had reached its Initial Operational Capability.  Deployments began in 2007 with the stationing of 6 F-22’s from Hickam AFB in Hawaii to Okinawa, Japan.  However, computer malfunctions occurred as they crossed the international date line causing the aircraft to return home for 2 days of software upgrades.  Later overseas deployments would include Kadena in Japan, Osan AB in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and other undisclosed locations in the middle east.  To this date, not confirmed combat participation by an F-22 has taken place.

F-22 Raptor countermeasures

Even today, bugs continue to plague the Raptor.  Cost per flight hour exceeds $68,000 and they require more than 10 hours of maintenance per hour of flight.  Though the stealth coatings on the aircraft are more durable than previous aircraft, a short deployment to Guam revealed numerous electronic failures caused by rain.  Most concerning of all are the reported hypoxia-like symptoms described by Raptor pilots during high gee maneuvering.  In 2012 Lockheed was awarded a contract to install a supplemental oxygen system to mitigate the problem.

F-22 Raptor crash

Initially touted as the next generation replacement for the F-117 Nighthawk, the F-22 Raptor program is already winding down.  The assembly line  at Lockheed is closed and the plans for the aircraft have been digitized and put away into secure archives.  As the F-35 is still non-operational, the services have fallen back on plans to repair their ageing F-15s and upgrading their F/A-18s.  Hopefully the existing fleet of F-22’s will be able to hold the line against the emerging threat of new Russian and Chinese 5th generation aircraft.

F-22 Raptor sun on the horizon

Here is some cool HD video of the F-22 in action.

And here is the Battle Stations video detailing the history of the F-22 Raptor.

If you want to see more great photos of the Raptor, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Lost and Found – September 7th Edition

What to remember about September 7th…

  • 1776  World’s 1st submarine attack; American submersible Turtle attempts to destroy British flagship in New York harbor
  • 1813  Nickname Uncle Sam is coined for the United States; attributed to businessman Samuel Wilson
  • 1864  Union General William Tecumseh Sherman orders residents of Atlanta to evacuate the city
  • 1896  Electric car wins the 1st automobile race held in America
  • 1936  American musician and songwriter Charles Harden “Buddy” Holley is born in Lubbock, Texas
  • 1940  300 German aircraft bomb London for the 1st of 57 consecutive nights, the “blitz” has begun
  • 1977  President Carter signs treaty giving up American control of the Panama Canal
  • 1997  American F-22 Raptor flies for the 1st time
  • 2008  Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taken over by the federal government

Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

Today’s Warbirds article is on a decidedly ugly aircraft – the Lockheed Martin F-117A Night Hawk.  Pilots and aviation enthusiasts know the aircraft as “Nighthawk”, “woblin’ goblin”, or just plain “goblin”.  Arab troops nicknamed the aircraft “Shabah” (ghost) during the Gulf War.

Developed at the infamous Skunk Works, the F-117 ushered in a new era in “stealth” aviation with her first flight on June 18, 1981.  The goal was to create a single-seat, ground-attack aircraft with the ability to evade radar through use of innovative shapes and materials versus active jamming.  Rapid delivery beginning in 1982 led to operational capability by October 1983.  The Air Force denied the existence of the aircraft until a grainy photo surfaced in 1988.  The public debut finally occurred in 1990 when 2 were flown to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and placed on display for a crowd of tens of thousands.

The combat history of the F-117A begins in December 1989 with strikes by two Nighthawks against targets in Panama during Operation Just Cause.  The true test of its capabilities really began during Desert Storm.  Comprising only 2% of the aircraft deployed for operations against Iraqi forces, the F-117A accounted for more than a third of all bombing runs on the first day.  And though they were the only aircraft allowed to strike inside the limits of Baghdad, none of the 36 deployed for the conflict were touched by hostile fire.  After the end of the Gulf War, the Nighthawk continued to operate in the region to enforce compliance with U.N. programs designed to deny weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Only one F-117A has been lost to enemy action.  On March 27, 1999 during Operation Allied Force, an Army of Yugoslavia SA-3 detonated near an F-117A piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko.  The aircraft had been targeted using ground observation beginning from take-off in Italy and long-wave radar that detected the plane when the bomb bay doors were open.  The pilot ejected safely and was quickly recovered by Marine Corps combat search and rescue.  the wreckage was not bombed because of the proximity of civilians.  This allowed  Russian personnel to inspect and examine the remains.  Technology from this wreck has proved useful to both China and Russia in the development of their own stealth aircraft.

Though they were supposed to remain operational through 2011, early deployment of the F-22 Raptor led to early retirement of the F-117A in 2008.  Because of the sensitivity of the technology, Nighthawks were deemed inappropriate for export sales.  However, the fleet of F-117A’s has not been scrapped.  Instead, they remain in climate controlled hangars at the Tenopah Test Range in “mothballed” condition – possibly awaiting later reactivation or sale.  F-117A’s have been sighted in flight as recently as 2010.

If you want to see more great photos of the Nighthawk, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Lost and Found – April 22nd Edition

What to remember about April 22nd…

Earth Day Celebrated (United States)

  • 1861  Robert E. Lee is named commander of Confederate forces in Virginia
  • 1863  Union cavalry led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson begin daring two-week raid through central Mississippi
  • 1890  At high noon the Great Land Rush begins in Oklahoma with nearly 50,000 people hoping to grab their own parcel of land
  • 1915  German forces launch unprecedented chemical artillery attack near Ypres, France; chlorine gas devastates allied forces
  • 1948  Jewish Haganah forces win Battle of Haifa; 30-hour battle gives them control of port city and vital supply line to the West
  • 1954  Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army and their supposed “soft” stance on communism
  • 1970  Earth Day celebrated for 1st time in United States
  • 1978  Blues Brothers make their television debut on Saturday Night Live; Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi bring blues back into style
  • 1994  Former 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon dies after suffering a stroke (b. 1913)
  • 2000  Six-year-old Elián González is seized from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida by federal agents; boy is sent to Cuba to live with his father
  • 2008  U.S. Air Force retires its fleet of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters; replaced by F-22 Raptor and upcoming F-35 Lightning II

Lost and Found – December 15th Edition

What to remember about December 15th…

  • 1791  With passage in Virginia, the Bill of Rights is ratified and forms the 1st 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  • 1864  2-day Battle of Nashville begins; Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Hood eliminated as fighting force
  • 1939  Film classic “Gone with the Wind” premiers in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1960  Richard Paul Pavlick is arrested in Palm Beach before he can make 2nd attempt on life of President-elect John F. Kennedy
  • 1961  Nazi war criminal and organizer of Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish Question” Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death by Israeli court
  • 1966  American entertainer and entrepreneur Walter Elias “Walt” Disney dies of cancer in California (b. 1901)
  • 1973  American Psychiatric Association votes 13-0 to remove homosexuality from official list of psychiatric disorders
  • 1978  President Carter announces that U.S. will formally recognize the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) and sever relations with neighboring U.S. ally Taiwan
  • 1998  House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary releases 265-page report recommending impeachment of President Clinton for high crimes and misdemeanors
  • 2005  USAF announces the F-22 Raptor fighter now in service

Lost and Found – September 29th Edition

What to remember about September 29th…

  • 1780  John André, British spy and accomplice of Benedict Arnold is convicted and sentenced to hang
  • 1902  Cornerstone of Washington National Cathedral is laid; construction is finally completed on same date in 1990
  • 1918  Allied forces breach the Hindenburg Line; last of the German defenses on the Western Front
  • 1939  After the invasion of Poland, Germany and the Soviet Union agree to divide control of the country between them
  • 1966  The Chevrolet Camaro officially goes on sale at dealerships
  • 1982  The 1st of 7 victims dies in the Chicago Tylenol poisonings
  • 1988  Mountain climber Stacy Allison becomes 1st American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest
  • 1988  Space Shuttle program resumes after Challenger disaster with launch of Discovery
  • 1990  YF-22 flies for the 1st time; becomes finalist in the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition; developed into the F-22 Raptor
  • 2005  Senate confirms John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • 2006  U.S. Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor dies in Iraq; he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless actions

Warbirds – F-22 Raptor

Today’s Warbirds article is on America’s first operational 5th generation fighter aircraft – the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.  Her first flight occurred on 7 September, 1997.

F-22 Raptor wireframe

Initial development of the aircraft was under the moniker YF-22.  It was Lockheed Martin’s entry into the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition.  Though Northrop’s YF-23 was stealthier and faster, the agility of the YF-22 (and possibly the adaptability to carrier operations) won out.  In 1991, the Secretary of the Air Force announced that the Raptor had won the competition and that he would recommend an order of 650 to 750 of the aircraft.

f-22 raptor Wallpaper

Produced at the Lockheed plant in Marietta, Georgia, the first production F-22 was delivered to Nellis AFB in Nevada in January of 2003.  Because of design changes made during development and production as well as rising costs, the Air Force reduced its announced requirement of aircraft to 381 in 2006.  Weight increased and capabilities were dropped; all in the name of cost efficiency.  Also, to garner wider support from Congress, subcontractors in 46 states were granted contracts for components for the aircraft.  It took roughly 1000 contractors and 95,000 workers to produce just two aircraft per month.  this production complexity led to even higher costs and more production delays.  In the end, from the initial order of 750 aircraft with a total cost of $26.2 billion, the Air Force would acquire only 187 Raptors for $66.7 billion.

F-22 Raptor weapon systems 2

The F-22 Raptor has 3 internal weapons bays that help maintain its stealthy mission profile.  It can carry six compressed-carriage medium range missiles in the center bay and one short-range missile in each of the two side bays. Four of the medium range missiles can be replaced with two bomb racks that can each carry one medium-size bomb or four small diameter bombs.  A key feature of this design is to allow weapons launch while maintaining super cruise speeds.  The aircraft does incorporate 4 additional hardpoints on the wings with 5000 pounds of carrying capacity.  However, use of weapons or fuel tanks on these mounts detrimentally affects maneuverability, speed, and stealth.

080921-N-4469F-017

By late 2005, the Raptor had reached its Initial Operational Capability.  Deployments began in 2007 with the stationing of 6 F-22’s from Hickam AFB in Hawaii to Okinawa, Japan.  However, computer malfunctions occurred as they crossed the international date line causing the aircraft to return home for 2 days of software upgrades.  Later overseas deployments would include Kadena in Japan, Osan AB in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and other undisclosed locations in the middle east.  To this date, not confirmed combat participation by an F-22 has taken place.

F-22 Raptor countermeasures

Even today, bugs continue to plague the Raptor.  Cost per flight hour exceeds $68,000 and they require more than 10 hours of maintenance per hour of flight.  Though the stealth coatings on the aircraft are more durable than previous aircraft, a short deployment to Guam revealed numerous electronic failures caused by rain.  Most concerning of all are the reported hypoxia-like symptoms described by Raptor pilots during high gee maneuvering.  In 2012 Lockheed was awarded a contract to install a supplemental oxygen system to mitigate the problem.

F-22 Raptor crash

Initially touted as the next generation replacement for the F-117 Nighthawk, the F-22 Raptor program is already winding down.  The assembly line  at Lockheed is closed and the plans for the aircraft have been digitized and put away into secure archives.  As the F-35 is still non-operational, the services have fallen back on plans to repair their ageing F-15s and upgrading their F/A-18s.  Hopefully the existing fleet of F-22’s will be able to hold the line against the emerging threat of new Russian and Chinese 5th generation aircraft.

F-22 Raptor sun on the horizon

Here is some cool HD video of the F-22 in action.

And here is the Battle Stations video detailing the history of the F-22 Raptor.

If you want to see more great photos of the Raptor, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Lost and Found – September 7th Edition

What to remember about September 7th…

  • 1776  World’s 1st submarine attack; American submersible Turtle attempts to destroy British flagship in New York harbor
  • 1813  Nickname Uncle Sam is coined for the United States; attributed to businessman Samuel Wilson
  • 1864  Union General William Tecumseh Sherman orders residents of Atlanta to evacuate the city
  • 1896  Electric car wins the 1st automobile race held in America
  • 1936  American musician and songwriter Charles Harden “Buddy” Holley is born in Lubbock, Texas
  • 1940  300 German aircraft bomb London for the 1st of 57 consecutive nights, the “blitz” has begun
  • 1977  President Carter signs treaty giving up American control of the Panama Canal
  • 1997  American F-22 Raptor flies for the 1st time
  • 2008  Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taken over by the federal government