The F-22 Raptor Is So Dangerous It Has No Real Enemy To Fight

Robert Farley

Robert Farley

Security,

Would anyone ever really have missed the F-22 if it had not existed? In an important sense, the answer is “no,” at least thus far. The F-22 has enjoyed the unusual distinction of holding an almost universally acknowledged dominance in the core air superiority mission for over a decade, and yet has not participated in a consequential way in any military conflict. It is the world’s best boxer, and yet can find no one to fight.

The F-22 Raptor Is So Dangerous It Has No Real Enemy To Fight

Would anyone ever really have missed the F-22 if it had not existed? In an important sense, the answer is “no,” at least thus far. The F-22 has enjoyed the unusual distinction of holding an almost universally acknowledged dominance in the core air superiority mission for over a decade, and yet has not participated in a consequential way in any military conflict. It is the world’s best boxer, and yet can find no one to fight.

The F-22 has been the world’s most formidable air superiority fighter since it first entered service in 2005. Although the Raptor has yet to kill a target in anger, aviation specialists almost unanimously agree that it can outclass any opponent, foreign or domestic. The only hard limitation on its ability to kill appears to be the number of missiles that it can carry.

(This first appeared last month.)

But what if the F-22 had never been? Like all advanced technological systems, the Raptor has suffered from hiccups; in 2009 these hiccups were severe enough to excuse the ending of the production line. What if those hiccups had been more severe, or if the United States had decided earlier that the Raptor simply wasn’t in its strategic interest?

The Plane

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