US F-22 Raptor finds rival in Korean FA-50

In a recent simulated aerial confrontation, the F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter jet faced an unexpected challenge from the Korean FA-50 fighter belonging to the Philippine Air Force.

The  F-22 Raptor, known for its stealth capability and designed specifically to overcome adverse air defenses, had a surprise confrontation with the  Korean-origin FA-50 fighter. This encounter occurred in the sky over  Luzon, with the   Philippine  Air Force [PAF] FA-50  challenging and reportedly “shooting down” the powerful American aircraft. The year 2023 has seen increased defensive collaboration between the Philippines and the United States.

US F-22 Raptor finds rival in Korean FA-50F-22 Raptor

The Philippines, an archipelago strategically located in the  South China Sea, has seen the arrival of multiple state-of-the-art fighter jets. Significantly, it is reported that during the 2023 edition of the “Cope Thunder” exercise, the  Korean FA-50 defeated the  US Air Force’s  F-22 Raptor, marking the resumption of this event after a 33-year hiatus.

In a recent Philippine Air Force [PAF] record, a Filipino pilot proclaimed over the radio during an air combat exercise with the  F-22 Raptor: “Fox 2! I killed a Raptor on the right turn.” This achievement has been considered a milestone in military history, with the  Philippine fighter jet outperforming a 5th generation aircraft during the aforementioned drill.

For its part, the F-22 Raptor, a twin-engine stealth tactical fighter, is an exclusive creation for the  United States Air Force [USAF]  by the prestigious company  Lockheed Martin. Born under the  USAF’s  Advanced Tactical Fighter [ATF] initiative, the Raptor was designed to dominate air combat and ground control thanks to its advanced assault, electronic warfare skills and signals intelligence.

US F-22 Raptor finds rival in Korean FA-50

Primary responsibility for the development of the F-22 fell to  Lockheed Martin, including the construction of the airframe and weapons systems. Boeing, another crucial entity, was responsible for the wings and part of the fuselage, as well as avionics integration and training systems development. The manufacture of this combat aircraft symbolizes the collaboration between two aerospace giants.

The f-22, also known as F/A-22, entered operation in December 2005. Despite the challenges during its development, the USAF values ​​the F-22 as an essential tactical fighter due to its advanced technology: Stealth, aerodynamic skills and top-of-the-line avionics systems.

In contrast, for the  Pakistan Air Force [PAF], having the  F-22  is a substantial achievement. This fighter plane surpasses the  F-35  in speed and stealth. Especially, the  F-22  has a lower chance of being shot down with a single shot against  BVR targets. This advantage was confirmed in a drill in  Norway, where the  F-22  dominated the  F-35  in dogfights and  BVR.

The  F-22  has stood out for its advanced radar evasion capacity, surpassing initial calculations. When talking about radar detection, the radar cross-section [RCS] of this aircraft is similar to a tiny piece of metal.

Comparatively, while the  F-22  can reach speeds of almost Mach 2.0, the  F-35  has a top speed of around Mach 1.70. The latter does not have the same agility as the F-22 in direct confrontations. The F-22 features an outstanding climb rate, reaching 62,000 feet per minute, while the F-35 only reaches around 45,000 feet per minute.

The  FA-50, derived from South Korea’s  T-50 Golden Eagle line of supersonic aircraft, is the result of a collaboration between Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)  and  Lockheed Martin. This model, conceived in the 1990s, joined the operations of the Korean Air Force in 2005. The Philippines, on the other hand, added twelve FA-50s to its air fleet in 2015.

Taking a trip back in time, in 1976, the first edition of Cope Thunder was held at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Unfortunately, the eruption of  Mount Pinatubo in 1991 caused the suspension of the event. The following year, the exercise relocated to Eielson Air Force Base, evolving to be known as Red Flag Alaska.

In an emotional twist,  Cope Thunder will return to its original home, the Philippines, in 2023 after more than three decades. This return symbolizes an unparalleled opportunity for the United States and the Philippines to strengthen their ties and improve their interoperability.

The indomitable “condor” F-22 Raptor: emperor of the skies
F-22 Raptor

The Cope Thunder 23-2 edition featured the participation of the  F-22 Raptor belonging to the US Air Force and the Hawaiian Raptors Squadron. The maneuvers were carried out in various locations, including Clark Air Base and Mactan Air Base, among others. The primary goal was to strengthen cooperation between the United States and the Philippines, allowing an exchange of tactics and procedures to optimize their joint operations.

In its combat debut over Syria in 2018, the  F-22  left an indelible mark by countering 587  Syrian, Iranian and Russian fighter jets and dropping 4,250 pounds of projectiles into enemy territory, according to Pentagon reports. During this operation, F-22 pilots from the 94th Fighter Wing flew 590 flights totaling 4,600 flying hours, releasing 4,250 pounds of ammunition. It is relevant to note that, according to the  Pentagon, the F-22 successfully deterred 587 enemy aircraft, showing its supremacy over older Russian models. It is important to mention that the F-22 was in maximum operation for three days in said conflict.