Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company originally developed the F-22 Raptor as a replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 back in the early 1970’s. Engineers from Lockheed and General Dynamics worked on the aircraft plans as part of the ultra-secret Skunk Works program. The plans emerged in October 1985 when the Air Force requested new fighter jet proposals as part of the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition among aircraft manufacturers.
In 1991, the Air Force announced that Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor had won the competition. After years of development and testing, the F-22 Raptor completed its first flight on September 7, 1997. It was placed into commission on December 15, 2005, with an initial order from the United States Air Force for 381 F-22 Raptors
The F-22 Raptor is a stealth fighter that can perform well against surface-to-air missiles or air-to-air missiles and has an ample supply of munitions to combat both threats. To retain its stealth capability, the F-22 Raptor can be armed with internally stored weapons though it can also carry them externally.
Several news outlets reported that on February 27, 2007 six F-22 Raptor fighters experienced multiple computer systems failures. The failures occurred during a flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan when the planes crossed the International Date Line. The systems affected included navigation, communications, and fuel subsystems. All six F-22 Raptors reached Hawaii safely due to excellent weather conditions and the refueling tankers that accompanied them.
Some of the technical specifications of the F-22 Raptors include:
Maximum speed: Mach 2 class
Supercruise speed: Mach 1.5+
Length: 62′ 1″
Wingspan: 44′ 6″
Height: 16′ 5″
Maximum weight: Classified
Empty weight: Classified
Engine(s): Two Pratt & Whitney 35,000-lb-thrust F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners.
Crew: Pilot only
Armament: Six radar-guided AIM-120C medium-range air-to-air missiles or two 1,000-pound class GBU-32 joint direct attack munitions, two heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, and one M61A2 20 mm multi-barrel cannon.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin and Boeing (airframe) and Pratt & Whitney (powerplants).