How the U.S. Air Force Makes Sure the F-22 Raptor Dominates the Skies

Kris Osborn
(U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Samuel Eckholm)

Kris Osborn

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How the U.S. Air Force Makes Sure the F-22 Raptor Dominates the Skies

As the Air Force and Lockheed Martin move forward with weapons envelope expansions and enhancements for the F-22, there is of course a commensurate need to upgrade software and its on-board sensors to adjust to emerging future threats, industry developers explained. Ultimately, this effort will lead the Air Force to draft up requirements for new F-22 sensors, Lockheed developers said.

(Washington, D.C.) The US Air Force is now integrating new weapons onto 143 F-22s to massively expand their target envelope, air-to-air attack range and lock-on-launch precision -- to preserve the widely held belief that the stealth fighter is the most advanced and dominant air-to-air fighter ever to exist.

F-22s will be able to track and destroy enemy targets flying behind them, hit air targets with much greater force, precision and destructive power and include new GPS jam-resistant technologies, developers explain.

Actual integration of the new, upgraded weapons -- which include the AIM-9X and AIM-120D missiles -- begins this May, according to the 2018 Air Force Annual Acquisition Report. The weapons expansion is part on an ongoing, multi-year upgrade called 3.2B during which the weapons improvements were prototyped, tested, demonstrated and validated. Now, the Air Force Report says - they are operational and ready for war.

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