Is the F-22 still the most advanced plane in the world?

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
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Viperdiver

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Unread post04 Jan 2013, 21:45

Two points:

1. A similar thread titled "1 on 1 the su-35 can beat the f-22" has been locked by a moderator so that's why I ask if this is serious or just trolling.
2. Any of these questions asking about cranium-to-cranium matchups between aircraft always needs to consider the pilot's abilities and his training.
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icemaverick

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 03:27

Scorpion82 wrote:....yet make claims that its avionics will be inferior to that of the F-22 which entered service a more than a decade ago when the T-50 will hit the scene. Of course the Raptor has evolved as well, but other than "hey in the past the Russians were always lagging behind in avionics" how can you chaps be sure that it will be any better or worse?


Russia was already far behind the West when it came to computers, communications tech, radar and avionics. This gap widened after the fall of the Soviet Union when Russia's economy tanked into the gutter and R&D expenditure was almost zero.

Even today, Russia's R&D spending is FAR behind that of the US. Let's also not forget that Russia is not a major player in the computer, tech or communications industries. The PAK-FA is also being developed on a fraction of the budget of the F-35 and the F-22.

Just because the PAK-FA is newer doesn't mean that the Russians are likely to overcome a colossal deficit in R&D base, development budget and experience. Maybe it would be possible if Russian scientists and engineers were somehow vastly superior to their American counterparts but there is scant evidence of that. Indeed, Russia is struggling to combat "brain drain."

Likewise other than VLO and an AESA what characteristics does the Typhoon lack in comparison to aircraft like the F-22 when it comes to "5th generation"?


Besides jet engines, what did the Mustang lack in comparison to the Sabre and Mig-17? Besides supercruise (in certain configurations), what does the F-15 lack in comparison to the Typhoon?

Stealth is a game changer. If one aircraft has a much higher likelihood of detecting an enemy aircraft before it gets detected, chances are it's going to win. Now you could argue that the Raptor's stealth isn't as good as advertised etc., but if VLO tech does work, it gives the Raptor a very significant edge.

There is also stuff on the Typhoon that can not be found on the Raptor does it mean now that the F-22 is not even "4.5 gneration" because it lacks this or that? Maybe some of you think first before they shout!


The definition of 5th generation is quite widely agreed upon and the Typhoon is not classified in that category. This isn't just used by LM in marketing materials. Even India, Russia and China seem to agree that 5th gen must include VLO tech.
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Scorpion82

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 17:01

icemaverick wrote:Russia was already far behind the West when it came to computers, communications tech, radar and avionics. This gap widened after the fall of the Soviet Union when Russia's economy tanked into the gutter and R&D expenditure was almost zero.

Even today, Russia's R&D spending is FAR behind that of the US. Let's also not forget that Russia is not a major player in the computer, tech or communications industries. The PAK-FA is also being developed on a fraction of the budget of the F-35 and the F-22.

Just because the PAK-FA is newer doesn't mean that the Russians are likely to overcome a colossal deficit in R&D base, development budget and experience. Maybe it would be possible if Russian scientists and engineers were somehow vastly superior to their American counterparts but there is scant evidence of that. Indeed, Russia is struggling to combat "brain drain."


That Russia is generally lagging behind in avionics technology doesn't mean that its avionics that are fielded within the next 5-10 years must be automatically inferior to what the US was fielding more than a decade ago and the Raptors avionics suite is very much 1990s technology even today. Of course upgrades have been incorporated, but most of them were software related and as of now there is no sign that the F-22 will receive any serious hardware upgrade within the coming decade.

I want to stress that I don't claim anything here at all, I just stress that it is:
1.) Somewhat premature to conclude superiority for either side when we know not much at all
&
2.) it's pretty oversimplified to come up with the "hey our R&D budget is much larger" claim.

The F-22 programme and even less the F-35 programme are good examples for effective programme management. On contrary they are pretty good examples for mismanagement and lack of cost control. In addition the labour costs in Russia are a fair deal lower than in the US. This has nothing to do with Russian engineers being more capable than American engineers or the otherway round. If we assume an equal amount of working hours required for the R&D phase the personell costs alone are easily three times higher for the US designs as an US engineer earn signficantly more money than a comparable Russian engineer.


Besides jet engines, what did the Mustang lack in comparison to the Sabre and Mig-17? Besides supercruise (in certain configurations), what does the F-15 lack in comparison to the Typhoon?

Stealth is a game changer. If one aircraft has a much higher likelihood of detecting an enemy aircraft before it gets detected, chances are it's going to win. Now you could argue that the Raptor's stealth isn't as good as advertised etc., but if VLO tech does work, it gives the Raptor a very significant edge.


It was claimed that in addition to stealth and an AESA radar the Typhoon lacks all other characteristics defining a 5th generation fighter as well, so I asked what are these "defining characteristics". You obviously failed to grasp that point and your reply is thus superflous drivel.


The definition of 5th generation is quite widely agreed upon and the Typhoon is not classified in that category. This isn't just used by LM in marketing materials. Even India, Russia and China seem to agree that 5th gen must include VLO tech.


True, but that was neither the question nor is it the answer to the question I've raised. What defines a fighter generation is largely dictated by the technologies and capabilities that are either first introduced with aircraft of this generation or that are at least common standard. If you take an actual look at the "defining charateristics" you'll realise that not every representative for this generation necessarily offers all the technologies and capabilities that are associated with that generation. Take the supermaneuverability and re-defined supercruise (M 1.5+) as an example. They were stated as defining characteristics for a 5th generation fighter, does it mean that the F-35 is no 5th generation fighter because it lacks them? Apparently not!
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icemaverick

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 18:32

Scorpion82 wrote:That Russia is generally lagging behind in avionics technology doesn't mean that its avionics that are fielded within the next 5-10 years must be automatically inferior to what the US was fielding more than a decade ago and the Raptors avionics suite is very much 1990s technology even today. Of course upgrades have been incorporated, but most of them were software related and as of now there is no sign that the F-22 will receive any serious hardware upgrade within the coming decade.


And just because Russia's technology is newer doesn't automatically mean that Russia will somehow close the gap. The HAL Tejas is a newer aircraft than the F-16. In fact it is decades newer. Does that make it a better aircraft? Of course not.

At the end of the day there is no substitute to gaining expertise. This expertise cannot be gained without investing money, putting in the time and through trial and error. Russia was already far behind the United States, fell further behind after the fall of the USSR and it is highly unlikely that they've closed the gap.

I want to stress that I don't claim anything here at all, I just stress that it is:
1.) Somewhat premature to conclude superiority for either side when we know not much at all


At the end of the day, we're all just people killing time on an online message board. Of course there is a lot we don't know. But it's quite reasonable to say that if you give one group of engineers far more experience, a head start in technology and a much larger budget compared to another group, they will likely produce a superior product. All of those things apply to the US vs Russia in this case.

&
2.) it's pretty oversimplified to come up with the "hey our R&D budget is much larger" claim.


There is no getting around the fact that money makes a huge difference. Give me two groups of engineers who are roughly equal in talent. Give one group $50,000 to work with and give the other group $10,000. I can almost guarantee you that the group with the $50k budget will produce a higher performance product.

In addition the labour costs in Russia are a fair deal lower than in the US.


They were lower during the time of the Soviet Union too. Back then, the Russians actually had a comparable budget to the US as well. Did that result in superior products? I don't think so.

If we assume an equal amount of working hours required for the R&D phase


The hours aren't equal. Remember, Uncle Sam has been doing this stealth thing since the 70s. The Soviets built a couple of stealth prototypes here and there but that's it. So whereas the USA already had decades of experience to build upon, the Russians are essentially starting from scratch. We can presume that they've gained some info through espionage, but there's no substitute to gaining your own expertise. Also, the US is probably doing its own fair share of spying as well.

Let's also not forget that Russia hasn't even produced a major commercial airliner since the fall of the USSR. The Sukhoi Superjet, which recently crashed in Indonesia, will be the first. Even then, it was developed with a large amount of Western help. All of this makes a huge difference. The development of these aircraft doesn't occur in a bubble. Expertise gained through other projects and related fields all contributes knowledge and technology.

The Russian aeronautics industry has largely become stagnant. Its only major export customers are mostly third world countries. They have less experience in building aircraft, less money to work with and they have way more cost restrictions because they will make less revenue than their US counterparts. They also have to contend with the fact that top talent will be drawn to Western countries, where there are better opportunities.

the personell costs alone are easily three times higher for the US designs as an US engineer earn signficantly more money than a comparable Russian engineer.


A US engineer can indeed earn more money than a Russian engineer. But this would likely mean that better talent is attracted to the United States as well. In fact, a large number of Russians emigrate to the US and other Western countries every year. Whereas top talent moves to the United States every year to work in its high tech industries (IT, electronics, computers, software etc.), Russia is struggling to curb brain drain.

Personnel costs are just one part of the equation. In order to develop the PAK-FA, the Russians will still need to make use of a lot of extremely expensive equipment. This equipment is extremely expensive whether it's purchased in the US or Russia. It costs a lot of money to build prototypes and to test and redesign them.

Finally, Russia is not a major player in many high tech industries. To build the best avionics, communications, computer systems, you are going to need a large talent base to draw from. I can't think of any major Russian tech giants. The Russians have to attract their talent from somewhere.
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Scorpion82

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 18:42

As expected you failed to understand anything again. I'll leave it at that, makes no sense to waste time with people who don't bother to read and understand.
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icemaverick

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 19:38

Scorpion82 wrote:As expected you failed to understand anything again. I'll leave it at that, makes no sense to waste time with people who don't bother to read and understand.


I specifically quoted and responded to all of your points. If you don't want to go through the intellectual rigor of addressing my rebuttals, then just say that instead of resorting to childish insults.
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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 21:10

@ icemaverick,

Sir you have explained quite well what I would not have done simply because I don't have the patience to type out what you so eloquently said here in your posts. Kudos to you.

@ Scorpion82,

I fail to see what was misunderstood. I've seen Russian acft upclose and even sat in them. The disparity in build quality leaves nothing to the imagination if you had the opportunity to see it first hand. I like you am not trying to make bold claims. But the socio/economic impact of a falling USSR is there. If they can somehow overcome 30+ years of stealth acft experience in one airplane let alone develope an AESA radar equal to 3rd gen types here and equivalent engines to boot, it would something indeed. I am just a realist, not a dreamer.
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Scorpion82

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Unread post05 Jan 2013, 21:28

@Icemaverick
I simply note that you don't bother to read and understand, if that's already an insult to... You have missed my points in the first attempt and barely adressed one in the second, while leaving out the others. Enough said.

@Cywolf32
I have seen a couple of Russian types close up and personal. What I was talking about here are the avionics suites of these two specific types only. Not avionics in general, not airframes, engines or anything else. Some people here are quite sensitive smelling hostility and conspiracy behind everything.
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Unread post06 Jan 2013, 07:10

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:maybe. I would not be surprised if the F-35s could track the F-22s on IR before the F-22 can pick up the F-35 on radar. plus the F-35 radar has jammed the F-22 radar in the past (unanswered questions are weather the F-22 radar was in LPI or not and the range at which jamming occurred)


it's a interesting thought experiment , but isn't this what it would come down to?

Whenther the EO Suite's range is enough to pick up the Raptor approaching directly- before the Raptor's LPI does it the old fashioned way(using Radar) , and picks up the F-35?

(one scenario, there's many that could occur)

The last tidbit about the jamming is a little interesting- I would have expected it to be the opposite.

Anyway, the F-22 is still by aspect the harder plane for a weapon fired to track, or to acquire, actually.



All of this would be solved if they put a EO suite on the F-22. They do that- it'll be advanced enough to handle the F-35 in every category that was in question.

Finally- a WVR fight favors the F-22.
I do wonder if the AMRAAM's radar currently would have the same issues and trouble attempting to acquire a F-35 as it should a F-22. Not to the same degree- but it might bring the fight to a WVR scenario.




I'd draw a parallel that I feel a similar type of situation would occur between a Virginia and a Seawolfto a degree, but apples and oranges is an understatement.
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Scorpion82

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Unread post06 Jan 2013, 13:37

In a battle between LO fighters these aspects are indeed much more relevant as in a battle between VLO vs non-LO. The lack of EO sensors for search and track on the F-22 is a mere restriction and disadvantage against LO/VLO opponents. Nothing that can't be mitigated if the need arises.
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Unread post21 Feb 2013, 08:21

The Pentagon is spending billions to ensure the Raptor gets better with age.

://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lockheed-awarded-69-billion-f-22-upgrade-contract-382576/

The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling of $6.9 billion to upgrade the service's fleet of F-22 Raptor air superiority fighters.

According to Lockheed, the arrangement is a corollary to a previous Raptor modernization contract that was issued in 2003. "The Air Force uses this to authorize the Incremental Modernization capability efforts such as Increment 3.1, Increment 3.2A and Increment 3.2B," the company says. "F-22 modernization provides upgrades that ensures the Raptor maintains air dominance against an ever advancing threat - with capabilities such as advanced weapons, multi-spectral sensors, advanced networking technology and advanced anti-jamming technology."

The contract award comes just days before a 1 March deadline for when automatic defence budget cuts kick in. The USAF expects that the work will be completed by 20 February 2023.

USAF

The Increment 3.1 upgrade, which is already being fielded, adds synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ground mapping capability to the F-22. It also adds the ability to carry eight 113kg (250lb) Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) to the jet.

In 2014, the USAF hopes to field Increment 3.2A, which will add new electronic protection measures and new combat identification capabilities to the Raptor. It will also correlate data from the jet's receive-only Link 16 data-link and fuse it with the F-22's integrated sensors.

Later, in 2017 the USAF hopes to start installing Increment 3.2B modifications onto its Raptor fleet. Increment 3.2B is a hardware and software upgrade that will fully incorporate the Raytheon AIM-120D and AIM-9X air-to-air missiles onto the F-22. It will also further upgrade the aircraft's geo-location and electronic protection capabilities. However, the USAF expects to incorporate rudimentary AIM-9X and AIM-120D capability onto the Raptor before 2017.

The USAF is funding a subsequent Increment 3.3 upgrade as a separate procurement programme.
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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 15:34

I think that it's a safe bet, that as new threats emerge, the F-22's upgrades will come to offset threat capabilities. We already know the upgrades that are in the works(that have been discussed in public anyhow). I wouldn't be surprised to see HMS, improved engines(thrust/efficiency), improved datalinks, radar upgrades(processing power/side arrays), improved suite of passive sensors(possibly adding the AIRST, and upgrades to the MLD for DAS like capabilities), etc...
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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 17:24

F35 is a strike aircraft (hence the program, JSF)..its a hybrid, alot like the F16 or F18...compare the F22 to Russian SU types, Chines J20-types, Euro Typhoons, Swedish Griffens, French Rafeals.....in terms of power plants, the F35 has probibly the most tested and advanced (also the most loud).......Russian nd Chinese planes are still prototypes and, even such, are not showing the performance of the F22/F35. There are folks that say the Russian radar can spot both US planes and the T50 can evade our radar. That remains to be seen. The F22 needs some polish (fix the oxygen system, tweek the avionics, etc) and they probibly should double the amount they have in inventory. To control the air you must do it fast, so having a number equal to the combined fleets of both Russian and China wont do it (and we have to assume we would fight both at same time). If the US had about 450 to 550 F22s and at least 60 to 80% the number of F35 when compared to the F16 inventory, we would have a powerful force. But remember, the F18 Growler (not the regular Hornet) has been able to track down all known fighters. After all is said and done, its the groud crews, pilots, weapons controllers, logistics, tacticians, etc that make the difference. Some more options are improved F15s and F16s. Nothing really matches them now except F22s/F35s. I saw one varient, the Silent Eagle, that uses F22 radar and avionics, along with more stealth capabilities (resesed weapons bays, etc), so thats a option. The F16/F16 are great airframes. If we cant build enough F22/F35, thats a viable option.
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Unread post22 Feb 2013, 23:04

wrightwing wrote:I think that it's a safe bet, that as new threats emerge, the F-22's upgrades will come to offset threat capabilities. We already know the upgrades that are in the works(that have been discussed in public anyhow). I wouldn't be surprised to see HMS, improved engines(thrust/efficiency), improved datalinks, radar upgrades(processing power/side arrays), improved suite of passive sensors(possibly adding the AIRST, and upgrades to the MLD for DAS like capabilities), etc...
True...

Those Raptor Pilots will still have a bit more on their plate than they needed when we send our Raptors to practice against the JSFs...
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Unread post23 Feb 2013, 01:46

F-22 is the most stealthy operational aircraft, but the YF-23 would be better if built. F-35 beats it in sensors. Also, the T-50 may be more aerodynamically advanced than the F-22 as it's a riskier design with features like LEVCON, variable intake, all moving tail, to name a few.
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