F-22 Raptor: 20 Years of Air Dominance

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Scorpion1alpha

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Unread post10 Jun 2018, 16:53

charlielima223 wrote:While we all talk about the aircraft its self, its good to know the story behind the aircraft and the people who fly and maintain it.


I agree. Without all the people contributing to it's design, development and eventually employment, the F-22 would be nothing more than exotic metal just sitting there.

One such person who contributed to the F-22 program is Steve "Hooter" Rainey. For 20+ years, he has the unique distinction of being with the program from the start and continues to this day as the F-22's CTP.

Lockheed Martin pilot celebrates 20th anniversary of his first flight in the F-22

Steve “Hooter” Rainey celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first flight in the F-22 Raptor, May 17, 2018, with a flight and an unexpected “wash down” at Edwards Air Force Base.

“Well, I didn’t expect to be watered down after the flight — that’s usually reserved for a pilot’s first and last flight — but my incredible team-mates and my Raptor family members wanted to make this a special day for me. They are truly awesome and I am so very fortunate to work with them daily,” said Rainey, Lockheed Martin’s F-22 chief test pilot. He also served as the F-22 squadron’s operations officer, squadron commander and Boeing’s F-22 chief test pilot.

Enjoying the unique opportunity of seeing the Raptor from its infancy, Rainey has been involved with the program from Critical Design Review to the present, including many major milestones. He’s pretty sure that he is the only test pilot ever to have had that unique honor, privilege and opportunity.

Twenty years ago sitting in the cockpit of F-22 4001, the first production Raptor, Lt. Col. Rainey thought to himself, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” He told the test operations control room that everything was fine, he needed another minute to check things out — and then he just sat there, looking around, absorbing the moment. He was about to become the first military pilot to fly the mighty Raptor. “It was an unbelievable day.” The plane had been flown first by the F-22 chief test pilot Paul Metz and Lockheed Martin test pilot Jon Beesley at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. This was to be the first time the customer, for whom the aircraft was built, would take to the air. It was only fitting that the test center at Edwards Air Force Base was the place.

That first flight at Edwards was the beginning of a number of firsts in the F-22s development and the start of true envelope expansion testing for the Raptor. Rainey also performed other firsts including: in-flight engine shutdown and air start testing, aerial refueling, loads test mission, emergency landing gear extension test, and first ferry flight of the F-22 aircraft 4002 from the factory in Marietta to Edwards AFB. He was also the first to test an unplanned dual engine flameout in a Raptor — ever. “The Pratt & Whitney engines are so incredible that they restarted and provided thrust instantly and automatically. The team didn’t know until the data was analyzed that an actual dual engine flameout had momentarily occurred,” explained Rainey.

Everything about the F-22 was ahead of its time back then and still is today, claims the experienced pilot, who has more than 1, 260 flight hours in the Raptor, more than 2,100 in the F-16, more than 1,500 in the F-4, 1,300 airline and more than 6,800 total hours in over 45 types of aircraft.

The Air Force was committed to having something revolutionary in every aspect of the F-22: design, avionics and engines. Rainey said he and other test pilots were initially apprehensive of the new Pratt & Whitney engines from their experiences flying Pratt motors in the F-15 and F-16, due to compressor stalls. That apprehension went away when he first felt the new engine. On an SPO fieldtrip to an engine run at West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1997, before first flight, he fell in love with the F-119 engine, even before it went into afterburner.

“There was a water canal behind the run stand and it started kicking up a little bit of rooster tail even in mil-power. Then the engine went to max afterburner— your body quaked, the fillings in your teeth rattled and a huge rooster tail raced across the water and then the alligators started hightailing it — jumping out of the water to get away from this beast of an engine roaring at them!” laughed Rainey, explaining that this was his Will Smith “Independence Day” moment. “I knew exactly how Will felt when he was flying the spaceship and I thought, ‘I’ve got to get me one of these!’” He was beyond ecstatic. Fortunately, he did get himself one — the first one, to be exact.

In the past two decades he has helped to keep the Raptor ahead of its time. He is often asked, since the F-22 fighter is able to operate with impunity anywhere in the world, why there is so much emphasis on modernizing our air power capabilities.

“Every design aspect of the Raptor is innovative,” explained Rainey. “From its revolutionary approach to subsystems, hydraulics and electronics, to stealth, super cruise, its first ever highly integrated sensor-fused avionics system controlled with super computers to its extreme high agility with thrust vectoring and post-stall maneuvering.” Rainey added that the F-22 is still ahead of its time. However, other countries are attempting to narrow the-gap. “The Euro-fighter, the Russian SU-57 and Chinese J-20 are examples of other nations trying to catch up to the mighty Raptor,” he said. “Modernization is moving the bar higher to ensure that the Raptor will continue to be ‘King of the Sky’ well into the future, to support the national defense objectives of the United States of America by providing air dominance anywhere – any time.”

Rainey gives thanks to the pilots and team mates who mentored him along the way, including Lt. Col. Al Kohn, John Fergione, and James Brown. He is especially thankful to his wife, Cindy (Avis), who still supports him- as long as she doesn’t have to choose between him and her new puppy, Tali. He still says he is the luckiest man on earth.

Question: When does a bad guy know there’s a Raptor in the fight? Answer: When his wingman blows up! First Look, First Shot, First Kill-F-22 Raptor — Total Air Dominance!


With Raptor 4001:
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Reaching 1,000hrs in the F-22:
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Rainey's 20th Anniversary flight (In Raptor 4009):
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Current "hero" shot:
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mixelflick

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Unread post12 Jun 2018, 13:36

It's still #1 20 years on..

The J-20 is no match for it air to air, and if recent reports of Indian MKI's detecting it are true, its stealth is in question too. Needs a better engine too, and the Chinese are even further behind than the Russians there. The only issue is that China will be building a lot more than 180 of them. The SU 57 is its closest competitor, but we all know the story there.. Major problems with stealth, engines etc and with India pulling out - it'll be that much more difficult to develop into a true 5th gen platform.

I just hope they don't skimp on the upgrades: Better weapons, a helmet mounted sight and presumably engine upgrades as well. Silver bullet force so they need to keep it ahead of the threat..
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Unread post12 Jun 2018, 13:51

mixelflick wrote:It's still #1 20 years on..

The J-20 is no match for it air to air, and if recent reports of Indian MKI's detecting it are true, its stealth is in question too. Needs a better engine too, and the Chinese are even further behind than the Russians there. The only issue is that China will be building a lot more than 180 of them. The SU 57 is its closest competitor, but we all know the story there.. Major problems with stealth, engines etc and with India pulling out - it'll be that much more difficult to develop into a true 5th gen platform.

I just hope they don't skimp on the upgrades: Better weapons, a helmet mounted sight and presumably engine upgrades as well. Silver bullet force so they need to keep it ahead of the threat..


I agree except that I really doubt China will be building that many of them if they have capabilities even remotely comparable to F-22 as that would mean they are seriously more expensive than Su-27 derivatives. Of course there will be all those F-35s also, which will mean USA will have huge numerical and technological advantage. Not to say J-20 might not be a threat in certain circumstances in some local conflict close to China.
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Unread post12 Jun 2018, 18:09

mixelflick wrote:The J-20 is no match for it air to air, and if recent reports of Indian MKI's detecting it are true, its stealth is in question too. Needs a better engine too, and the Chinese are even further behind than the Russians there. The only issue is that China will be building a lot more than 180 of them. The SU 57 is its closest competitor, but we all know the story there.. Major problems with stealth, engines etc and with India pulling out - it'll be that much more difficult to develop into a true 5th gen platform.


IMHO I wouldn't take the reports of an Su-30MKI detecting the J-20 with any real face value. The Su-30MKI still uses a PESA radar. I think in some areas China is ahead of Russia and vice versa. China has at least been able to build and produce an AESA radar for their fighter aircraft in the J-10. Russia still is developing and testing the AESA radar for their PAKFA. Russia is able to produce better engine technology than China and avionic suites... hence China procuring a small number of Su-35s so they can copy it. How close PAKFA and J-20 comes to F-22 is debatable in some regards. Though I wholeheartedly agree that even after 13 years of service, F-22 still reigns supreme and its competitors are struggling to play catch up.
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Unread post19 Jun 2018, 20:29

A photo from the 20th Anniversary gathering at Edwards. Several prominent members present along with current members of the CTF (ED 132 in the background).

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Unread post24 Jun 2018, 22:29

lrrpf52 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:I sure hope they have something up their sleeves beyond the AIM-120D.

The AMRAAM is a good missile. But it's been around since the early 90's. It's known, its strengths and weaknesses are known. Our fighters live and die by AMRAAM, and the F-22 is no exception. Figure out how to defeat the AMRAAM and you've made it to the merge. In the merge, the F-22 is exceptional but a lot more vulnerable vs. BVR.

I've heard of CUDA and other possibilities, but as for what's deployed and operational - do we have ANYTHING else?


AIM-120A <<<<< AIM-120D

AIM-120 pk from F-22 is way higher than AIM-120pk from any 4th Gen aircraft.

F-22 can come in way close and engage from superior information and energy positions, with superior terminal guidance options. If a target is within NEZ and doesn't know it, they're screwed.

The last thing you ever want to do is "make it to a merge" with F-22 or F-35, because that's a merge on their terms, not yours. It's a terrible place to be.


Not to mention being able to defeat an AIM-120A (or C) doesn't mean being able to defeat an AIM-120D (with improved ECCM, 2 way datalink, GPS/INS, HOJ, etc....)
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 14:35

OK, so just how much better PK does an F-22 with AIM-120D have, vs say an F-15C with AIM-120D??

The missile is the same. Launch energy is greater in F-22, I get that. But cannot an F-15C go supersonic (1.2/1.4) to impart the same launch energy, or close to it??
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 15:26

mixelflick wrote:OK, so just how much better PK does an F-22 with AIM-120D have, vs say an F-15C with AIM-120D??

The missile is the same. Launch energy is greater in F-22, I get that. But cannot an F-15C go supersonic (1.2/1.4) to impart the same launch energy, or close to it??


F-22's radar is better, so better more accurate data being fed to the aim-120D from the F-22 vs the F-15, assuming they are using there own radars to guide the missile (awacs, F-35, F-22, ship).
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 15:35

"OK, so just how much better PK does an F-22 with AIM-120D have, vs say an F-15C with AIM-120D??

The missile is the same. Launch energy is greater in F-22, I get that. But cannot an F-15C go supersonic (1.2/1.4) to impart the same launch energy, or close to it??"

And there is of course the far greater likelihood that the F-22 will be undetected right until launch (and maybe still not even at all) and by extension, reliably fire well within the missile's NEZ - 2 advantages not available to any other fighter than the F-35.
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 15:53

mixelflick wrote:The missile is the same. Launch energy is greater in F-22, I get that. But cannot an F-15C go supersonic (1.2/1.4) to impart the same launch energy, or close to it??


Lets put some boundaries on this real quick. Lets say the target in question is flying at 36,000ft and 0.95M towards the shooter and can be targeted at whatever range needed.

The F-15 is cruising at 40,000ft and 0.95M while the F-22 is cruising at 50,000ft and 1.5M.

Using miniZAP, this shows an AIM-120D launched from each of these conditions could be launched from a maximum of 120nm in 205s and 180nm in 257s, respectively. This is NOT a NEZ, this is assuming the target flies straight and level the whole time and these are the ranges at which the missile speed drops below 1.25M. Think of these ranges as pK=0. Any basic change in heading WILL make the missiles miss.

Now lets say the target is using the same altitude and speed as before, but is heading away from the shooters. Now the Eagle launched missile has a maximum launch range of 58nm in 205s while the Raptor launched missile has a maximum launch range of 102nm in 257s. Let's say this is max pK of 85%, the innate pK of the missile in it's ability to launch, guide, track, and detonate. Any basic change in heading will only reduce the distance the missile has to fly

We are eliminating every variable except the shooting platform right now.

What we see here is that the kinematics of the Raptors flight allow an immediate long range and high energy response. Where the F-15 has pK=0, the F-22 has pK~=65%

Can the Eagle speed up to improve missile kinematics? yes, so can the F-22.

So, it would take an F-15 that is at 40,000ft 80 seconds to accelerate to M1.4 per TO 1F-15A-1 Figure B9-23 representing an F-15C with eight air to air missiles and a centerline pylon with a starting weight of 44,000lb. Even this only changes the pK ranges from 58-120nm to 71-138nm, And 80 seconds was spent along with several thousand pounds of fuel. What do you think would happen if the F-22 did that?

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The F-22 will always be able to impart more energy into a missile shot than any other fighter. This means it's missiles will always have more speed available to them and the enemy will have a shorter reaction time.
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 16:00

Think about it like this.
The M-61 is a relic weapon

But how often have we heard Raptor pilots claiming to be able to sneak up behind undetected and gunning down other fighters.

Even against the Typhoon, the infamous Raptor Salad article.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ut-373312/
the Typhoon has good energy and a pretty good first turn, but that they were able to outmanoeuvre the Germans due to the Raptor's thrust vectoring. Additionally, the Typhoon was not able to match the high angle of attack capability of the F-22. "We ended up with numerous gunshots," another USAF pilot says.


So even against the Typhoon, without the element of surprise the gun becomes a real threat with the F-22.

So in retrospect
Any weapon, even the cannon become exponentially more lethal in an F-22
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 18:05

lrrpf52 wrote:The Raptor ends up being a merciful, strategic asset...


Merciful? Heh...kind of goes against it's reputation as a Klingon Death Killing Machine with an insatiable appetite for destruction.

But the F-22 being looked at as "merciful" might have its place in placating the PC masses.

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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 18:14

mixelflick wrote:OK, so just how much better PK does an F-22 with AIM-120D have, vs say an F-15C with AIM-120D??

The missile is the same. Launch energy is greater in F-22, I get that. But cannot an F-15C go supersonic (1.2/1.4) to impart the same launch energy, or close to it??

The F-15 can't get as close, undetected. Even if the F-15 launches at the same speed, but it's 2x to 4x further away, it won't have nearly the same Pk. Additionally, a foe that's aware of a threat will begin reacting sooner (speed, maneuvers, EW, etc...)
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Unread post25 Jun 2018, 18:53

Scorpion1alpha wrote:Image

That is probably how the Raptor felt intecepting those Iranian Phantoms or stalking Russian Sucks over Syria.
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Unread post26 Jun 2018, 02:58

It was such a huge and terrible mistake we didn't build more F-22s. This is the best air dominance fighter the world has ever known. We spent a small fortune and many years developing it. Then we only bought 187 of them. What a waste. I will never be able to forgive Obama and Gates for prematurely shutting down the line. Gates thought the only threat we would be facing going forward was goat herders armed with AK-47s. And Obama in 2012 laughed at Romney's suggestion that Russia was still somehow our #1 adversary. Anyone remember the debate in which he smugly told Romney "the 1980s called and wants its foreign policy back"? Then look what happened two years later.

Isn't it funny how the world situation can change in the blink of an eye? Now we are back to planning for war against near peer adversaries and "great power competition" is the new buzzword. China has since fielded two stealth fighters and Russia is trying to bring one into being. The U.S. Army is once again highly focused on Europe, while the Navy, Marines and Air Force seem fully occupied with checking Chinese expansionist ambitions in the Pacific. Terror groups like ISIS and Al-Queda are hardly mentioned anymore. So much for visionaries like Obama and Gates. Their crystal ball couldn't even see what the world had in store through the end of the second term. We sure could have used some more F-22s. But nah, those were just cold war relics, machines designed to fight wars of the past. Uh huh. Right.
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