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Beyond the Hype: Revealing the Real Power of the F-22 Raptor

Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter is renowned for its capability and potential, but how combat-ready are they truly? The F-22 Raptor: what was pledged The F-22 Raptor is celebrated as the most advanced air superiority fighter presently in service, with unparalleled air dominance and combat capabilities. The United States Air Force regards the F-22 Raptor as an exceedingly lethal combination of stealth, supersonic cruising, maneuverability, and integrated avionics. The Raptor is proficient in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, making it a crucial component of US military strategy in the 21st century.

However, up until now, the F-22 has never engaged in air-to-air combat, and its performance in actual combat operations remains uncertain. The predicament with the F-22 Block 20 This month, the US Air Force has appealed to Congress to exclude 32 F-22 Block 20 fighters from its 2024 budget, contending that they are unfit for combat. Upgrading these fighters would necessitate a costly and protracted endeavor, adversely affecting Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II program. Lt. Gen. Richard Moore argues that the Block 20s lack the latest communication, weaponry, and electronic warfare capabilities, rendering them unsuitable for combat. Retiring the 32 F-22 Raptors would result in an annual saving of approximately $485 million, which could be allocated to the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program.

The expense of upgrading the F-22 Block 20 Estimates suggest that updating the F-22 Block 20 would entail a cost of around 3.5 billion dollars and a decade of work. Additionally, it would impose a burden on Lockheed Martin, necessitating the reallocation of resources from the F-35 Block 4 program to the F-22. Moore contends that upgrading the F-22 Block 20 is impractical due to the exorbitant cost and time required, which would impact the development of the F-35 Block 4. The History of the F-22 Raptor The United States Air Force selected the F-22 Raptor as a result of the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program.

While it has never been employed in air-to-air combat, in 2014, F-22s conducted strikes in Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria. Originally intending to procure 750 F-22s, the program was scaled down to 187 operational aircraft in 2009 due to high costs, a lack of air-to-air missions at the time, and the emergence of the more affordable and versatile F-35 Lightning II. What lies ahead for the F-22? The decision to retire or retain the F-22 Block 20 and allocate resources to the NGAD program still rests with Congress. Meanwhile, the debate concerning the combat effectiveness and capability of the F-22 Raptor continues to be a heated topic in the military and defense community.

The US Air Force continues to seek new avenues to enhance its capabilities and maintain air superiority. The F-22 Raptor may continue to evolve to meet the evolving needs of the 21st century. In summary While the F-22 Raptor is renowned for its potential in combat, the reality is that many of these fighters are not combat-ready. Upgrading the F-22 Block 20 would demand a costly and protracted endeavor, and Congress may opt to retire these aircraft and channel resources toward more modern and promising programs like NGAD. Only time will reveal how the role of the F-22 Raptor will evolve within America’s defense strategy.

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