Lockheed awarded $6.9 billion upgrade “indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity” contract to make the F-22 Raptor a real multirole fighter jet

Feb 27 2013 - 4 Comments
By Richard Clements

The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling of $6.9 billion to upgrade the service’s fleet of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters.

Lockheed said that “The Air Force uses this to authorize the Incremental Modernization capability efforts such as Increment 3.1, Increment 3.2A and Increment 3.2B”

“F-22 modernization provides upgrades that ensures the Raptor maintains air dominance against an ever advancing threat – with capabilities such as advanced weapons, multi-spectral sensors, advanced networking technology and advanced anti-jamming technology.”

F-22 Nellis

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Under increment 3.1 upgrade the fleet of radar evading 5th generation planes will get synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with ground mapping capability as well as the ability to carry eight 113kg (250lb) Small diameter bombs, in 2014; the increment 3.2A will see additional electronic protection measures and upgrades to the Link-16 data link system and its ability to work with the jets sensor suite.

In 2017, increment 3.2B will see the software and hardware upgrade to allow the Raptor to use the AIM-120D and AIM-9X missile systems, although a limited ability will be added before this date.

The use of the AIM-9X with an Helmet Mounted Display (initially not implemented on the plane) would give the F-22 an HOBS (High-Off Bore Sight) capability currently lacking.

Further upgrades as part of 3.2B will see further improvements to the electronic protection system and an upgrade to the aircraft geo-location system.

Increment 3.3 is in the pipelines but will be funded from another proposal at a later date and no further details as to what this will actually be is available.

The upgrades will give the costly and troubled stealth fighter, whose dominance of the skies has been debated since the Eurofighter Typhoons involved in the Red Flag Alaska exercise last year achieved some (simulated) Raptor kills, the capability to perform effectively in both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.

Something the F-35 should sometime do as well.

David Cenciotti has contributed to this post

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  • pp_muscimol

    A brand new plane that never saw combat and already is sipping another ~7 billion ….. waw…. talking about affordable planes!! … I bet in 2-3 years they will do the same for the F35 in order to match the new planes from china and russia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=554676479 Anthony J. Mitchell

    It is not so air dominant when a Dassault Rafale can out maneuver it and kill it in a mock air-air engagement. The F-22 loses it’s stealth at 6 miles BVR, and it’s rate of fire is slightly hindered by weapon door opening delays. It also is forced into visual range because of jamming. Because of the flaws, it takes two F-22′s performing a raptor jump to take out one aircraft beyond visual range. http://defenseissues.wordpress.com/tag/f-22-vs-dassault-rafale/

    • diabeetus

      You believe that highly European bias article?

      No the Rafale and Typhoon can’t compete with the F-22 unless its in WVR, and even then, with the addition of the AIM-9X Block II, its even more difficult.

      The F-22 does not loose stealth until WVR when IRST comes into the mix. All these red flag competitions that euros love to tout are WVR, while the F-22 could easily kill all its opponents in BVR.

    • mick

      Both Raptors and Rafales are a lethal combination,I think this sums it up. Both aircraft offer excellent performance in differing corners of the flight envelope its good to know they are both on the same side they make an assume combination.