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Questions and Observations about F/A-22

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posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 08:46 AM
Hi, to Intelgurl and any Raptor aficianado's.

First of all I was very disappointed to hear that the USAF may now be getting only 180 Raptors. I wish you could get 300 to 400 of them, but 180 is not a total disaster. After all the burden of air superiority today falls on only 180 F15C's ( the F15E's are mainly used as bomb-trucks).

As I understand it one of the Raptor's many oustanding features which really sets it apart from the Euro-canards and Sukhoi's is its ability to fly and fight at much higher altitudes ands speeds than any of the others. Thus, for example, one pilot recounted how he was able to execute a split S at 55,000 ft while flying at Mach 1.98 (with afterburner) and that the aircraft would fly "easily over 60,000ft." I do not believe any of the other NG fighters come close to matching this kind of performance.

My question is would the Raptor routinely make use of its superior ability at these higher speeds and altitudes? Without thrust vectoring etc. no other aircraft would have the control necessary to challenge the Raptor in these regions. The extra speed and altitude would give the Raptor and its weapons an energy and a range advantage over anyone else. However, there is the question of whether operating on the edge of the flight envelope would make the Raptor more vulnerable to detection from aircraft equipped with an IRST? On this point I note that the Raptor can mask its IR signature to some extent by distributing its fuel to cover hot spots and that the plane is covered in the anti-IR paint 'top-coat.' Clearly some modern IR paints are now very effective. I have seen the IR signatures of MBT's completely disappear when coated to IR resistent paint.

Are there any comparators used to measure IR signature stealth in the same way RCS is used to measure radar stealth? How does the IR signature of the Raptor compare to the F16 for example?

posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 10:45 AM

I've included a link below that compares the F22 with the other NG aircraft against a SU-27 it may be of interest to you. Its not superior in all aspects.

posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 02:14 PM
Hi Limey, all good questions. A couple of things i'd add:

While the F-15C is one of the only recognised air superiority fighters in the US inventory, the effectiveness of other platforms shouldn't be dismissed. The F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 are all capable in the air to air arena, especially when carrying AMRAAM. Even if on a bomb mission, if required these aircraft can be re-rolled from an Air to Ground mission, punching off the bombs to achieve more manoeuvrability and thrust to weight. The Hornet is often undersold as an air to air player, but in fact is very profecient, especially in a turning fight.

Spot on with the increased range capabilities with height. With the ability to supercruise, the F/A-22 will be very effective. Of course, to use BVR missiles these days you still need to be able to identify the target, to avoid blue on blue, or even worse blue on civilian incidents. While I'm sure the F/A-22 sensor suite will be able to overcome some of the deficiencies current generation aircraft have, it is still a consideration. Of course the Raptor certainly looks most capable in the visual arena as well, especially with AIM-9X on board.

As for IRST, the current generation certainly don't give the adversary that much of an advantage as I understand it. At best, it will let the pilot know something is out there moments before an AMRAAM hits home. Radar warning receiver information would be paramount for threat detection at the ranges we are talking here, though the Raptor radar will also have a reduced signature. Future generation IRSTs will probably give an adversary pilot a passive BVR capability, but nothing out there that I know of at the moment can do it.

There is a formula for the calculation of IR signature. I can't remember it off the top of my head, but it would be safe to assume that the F/A-22 IR signature is much less than current aircraft such as the Hornet, or possibly even the F-117.

Hope this contributes to the discussion, this is my first post, it is great to be here and talking about this kind of stuff!

posted on Jan, 5 2005 @ 02:44 PM

First of all I was very disappointed to hear that the USAF may now be getting only 180 Raptors. I wish you could get 300 to 400 of them, but 180 is not a total disaster.

This is just a rumor, it's already being contested by congress.

I am sure the US will receive 300+ Raptors by 2013.

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