Can any aircraft beat the F-22 Raptor?
F-22 raptor of USA

This formidable fighter-bomber is equipped with dual attack capabilities, both air-to-air and air-to-ground. It can carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 joint direct attack munitions. 

Let’s examine this question: Can any aircraft beat the F-22 Raptor?

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor represents the cutting-edge tactical fighter aircraft, a collaboration between industry giants such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, which supplies the engines.

This aircraft, designed to dominate the skies, was designed specifically to meet the demands of the United States Air Force ( USAF ). Since its initial production in 2001, the Raptor’s primary operational wings include Air Education and Training Command, Air Combat Command, and Pacific Air Forces.

Although a fleet of up to 750 aircraft was originally planned, high costs associated with the project and reliability issues have restricted the number of F-22 units produced.

F-22 Raptor technical specifications

Length: 62 feet 1 inch (18.9 m)
Height: 16 feet 8 inches (5.1 m)
Wingspan: 44 feet 6 inches (13.6 m)
Curb weight: 43,340 lb (19,700 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight: 83,500 lb (38,000 kg)
Fuel capacity: Internal: 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg); Additional with two external tanks: 26,000 pounds (11,900 kg)

This formidable fighter-bomber is equipped with dual attack capabilities, both air-to-air and air-to-ground. It is equipped to carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 joint direct attack munitions.

The cockpit, together with its advanced avionics, facilitates comprehensive weapons management, navigation and launch execution. The combination of internal and external fuel capacity significantly extends the aircraft’s operational range, both in combat missions and transfer flights.

The F-22’s arsenal includes cutting-edge weaponry and advanced defensive systems, enhanced by low-observable technologies that increase both its lethality and survivability against air-to-air and ground-to-air threats.

In combat operations, various self-protection systems are activated as needed, further strengthening its profile as one of the most effective and safest fighters in the global military arena.

F-22 Raptor combat capabilities and challenges

The F-22 Raptor is an advanced combat platform that stands out for its impressive technical characteristics:

Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines equipped with afterburning and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles.
Thrust per engine: 35,000 pound-force.
Speed: Capable of reaching Mach 2, with outstanding supercruise capability.
Range: More than 1,850 miles of ferry range (1,600 nautical miles) with two fuel tanks in the outer wings.
Operating ceiling: Greater than 50,000 feet (15,000 meters).

The F-22 can operate at speeds of Mach 1.5 without the need to engage afterburner, a capability called supercruise that significantly improves its operating range and speed. This feature allows it to maintain supersonic speeds for a long time, unlike other fighters that require considerable fuel consumption to reach and maintain these speeds.

Despite these advanced capabilities and its stealth-focused design, the Raptor has faced challenges in simulated combat. Aircraft such as the General Dynamics F-16 and the Navy’s EA-18G Growler have managed to outperform the F-22 in certain circumstances.

Additionally, during international exercises such as the Red Flag, the Eurofighter Typhoon has proven to be a formidable competitor, with German pilots reporting multiple victories in air combat scenarios against the F-22.

These results underscore that, although the F-22 is technologically superior, tactics, pilot skill, and engagement circumstances play a crucial role in the outcome of dogfights.

Arsenal and maneuverability of the F-22 Raptor

Can any aircraft beat the F-22 Raptor?

The F-22 Raptor, a jewel of air combat technology, is equipped with a formidable arsenal that places it at the pinnacle of offensive and defensive capabilities. Its weapons include:

Cannon: A 20-millimeter M61A2 cannon with a capacity of 480 rounds, offering an effective solution against close targets.
Infrared air-to-air missiles: Equip two AIM-9 missiles, which use heat-seeking technology to effectively capture targets in close combat.
Radar-Guided Missiles: Six AIM-120 in air-to-air configuration and two additional for air-to-ground missions are stored in the internal carriage of the weapons bays, allowing the Raptor to maintain its stealth profile.
Guided bombs: Two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAMs, which reinforce its ground attack capacity.

In addition to its impressive payload, the F-22 stands out for its advanced maneuverability, which is attributed to its engines’ thrust vectoring. This capability allows the Raptor to execute complex turns and maneuvers that are unattainable by most aircraft.

The specialized nozzle and thrust system adjusts the engine exhaust to allow for high-angle attack movements, thus offering tactical superiority in aerial combat.

Capt. John ‘Rocks’ Wagemann of the 1st Fighter Wing, based at Langley, Va., Air Force, explains the tactical application of this technology: “Our [one-on-one] tactics have changed to incorporate the ‘post-loss’ regime.” ‘, where other aircraft cannot operate.

Can any aircraft beat the F-22 Raptor?
F-22 and F-35 Fighter Jet

“Thrust vectoring allows pilots to fly up and up in a very tight arc, [and] gives us the nose authority to turn the airplane while the wings are stalled, similar to a controlled flat turn.”

The F-22’s onboard automatic control systems facilitate this advanced maneuvering mastery, which manages control surfaces such as ailerons, flaps, stabilizers and rudder.

The F119 engine’s vector nozzle, integrated into the flight control system, adjusts up to 24 degrees vertically, maximizing the range of maneuverability in flight and allowing pilots to concentrate on combat strategy without the additional burden of manual control of the vector of the engine.