Facts About the F-22 Raptor Air Force Fighter Jet

Next Generation Aircraft Considered the Most Advanced Fighter Jet

USAF F-22 Raptors in formation
••• Erik Simonsen/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

 With its speed, agility, precision weapons and stealth capabilities, the F-22 Raptor, a fifth generation, single-seat tactical fighter, is often referred to as the best fighter jet ever built.

F-22 Raptor, which carries a host of powerful weaponry and is exceptionally maneuverable, has the ability to super-cruise over long ranges. According to Lockheed Martin, which builds the plane: "The F-22 Raptor defines air dominance.

The 5th Generation F-22’s unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness, combined with lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry, makes it the best air dominance fighter in the world."

The F-22 Raptor project has been a huge undertaking, with nearly 95,000 workers involved at every level in many states. According to one estimate, the final cost of the project will be about $67 billion, with a single aircraft estimated to cost approximately $339 million. The Air Force initially wanted to procure 750 Raptors, but in the end, they purchased only 187. The F-22 is built to last for 30 years (8,000 flight hours); funding is built into the program for upgrades and enhancements. 

Sterling Reputation

The F-22 Raptor fighter jet was jointly designed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Boeing Company. The aircraft first entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 2005 after nearly 20 years of development.

Despite the long development phase, the F-22 Raptor has quickly earned a sterling reputation in military and aviation circles around the world for its superior speed, maneuverability, situational awareness, and its combat capabilities.

Angus Houston, chief of the Australian Defense Force, called the F-22 Raptor “The most outstanding fighter plane ever built.”

The U.S. Air Force has been equally complimentary about the F-22 Raptor, claiming that it is the best all-around fighter jet in the world and that it is critical to the U.S. Air Force’s tactical air power.  

No Exports Allowed

The F-22 Raptor fighter jet was developed exclusively for the U.S. Air Force. Export sales of the F-22 Raptor are banned by U.S. federal law, and much of the aircraft’s technology and capabilities are classified information. Military allies of the U.S., such as Canada and Australia are purchasing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which has some of the same technology and parts as the F-22 Raptor. However, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not as quick, nimble or advanced as the F-22 Raptor. The F-22 is a superior fighter jet.

Distinguishing Characteristics

What distinguishes the F-22 Raptor from other fighter jets is the combination of speeds that exceed Mach 2.0 (more than 1,300 miles per hour) exceptional agility, stealth technology, and the most advanced avionics ever developed. When combined, these characteristics make the F-22 Raptor an exceptional overall fighter jet.

The aircraft has a single seat and twin afterburning Pratt &Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines.

For weapons, the F-22 Raptor is outfitted with a 20 millimeter M61A2 Vulcan Gatling gun that can carry 480 rounds of ammunition, two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, eight 250 pound GBU-39 small diameter bombs, and two 1,000 pound JDAM bombs.