Warplanes: F-22 Secrets Revealed

Archives

February 12, 2009: The U.S. Air Force has released some performance data on the F-22. The stealthiness factor of the F-22 has turned out to be better than predicted. For radar purposes, the F-22 is about the size of a steel marble. The F-35 comes out as a steel golf ball. The AESA radar turned out to have a longer effective range of about 210 kilometers, versus a 200 on the official spec sheet. The AESA radar is also able to detect enemy radars at a considerable distance, meaning that, if an approaching enemy aircraft is using its radar, an F-22 can detect it about 300 kilometers distant. That gives the F-22 more time to get into position for a decisive first shot at the enemy aircraft.

These goodies are being released as the air force makes a pitch to delay some F-35 production in order to build more F-22s. The air force generals point out that the first 500 or so F-35s will cost $200 million each (without taking R&D into account), while F-22s only cost $145 million each (without taking R&D into account). The construction cost of the F-35 will eventually go to about $100 million each as more are produced.

The air force also points out that their simulations (which are classified, so it's difficult for anyone check their accuracy) indicate the an F-22 would destroy 30 Su-27/MiG-29 type aircraft for getting destroyed. But the F-35 would only have a 3:1 ratio, while the F-15 and F-16 would only have a 1:1 ratio (there are a lot of F-15 and F-16 pilots who would dispute this). Thus the need for more F-22s, even if it means fewer F-35s (in the near and long term).

The air force also points out that, with a force of 183 F-22s (all Congress will allow them to build at the moment), only about a hundred would be available for combat (the rest would be down for maintenance or used for training.) By building another 60-100 F-22s, and reducing initial F-35 production by that much, American air superiority would be much improved, at no (well, not much) additional expense. Or so goes the pitch.

 


X

ad Help Keep Us Online!
 

We will not give in! Go to other sites on the World Wide Web and they look like the side of a stock car. Lots of ads and little content! But here is the deal we cannot keep our site relative ad free without your support. Each month we need your subscriptions or contributions plus what meager ad revenue we do receive to stay in business. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..

Drake appreciates any help you can give him.

Subscribe   Contribute   Close