Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

Impressive photo shows F-22 stealth jet dogfighting against F-15 at close range

Aerial combat between U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors and F-15 Eagles, seen from the inside.

The image in this post was taken from a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, during a close range aerial combat exercise against a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

You can clearly see the two planes maneuvering at very close range, pulling Gs, with the F-22 releasing flares counter measures against (simulated) heat seeking air-to-air missiles.

The dogfight took place off the coast of Penang, Malaysia, Jun. 16, 2014, during “Cope Taufan 2014″ a biennial LFE (large force employment) exercise taking place June 9 to 20 designed to improve U.S. and Malaysian combined readiness.

Both aircraft are currently deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia.

Cope Taufan

The exercise, that marks the F-22′s first deployment to Southeast Asia, featured also some interesting mixed formation between U.S. planes with Royal Malaysian Air Force MIG-29N Fulcrum, Su-30 and F-18 Hornet jets.

Cope Taufan

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

It’s not clear whether the F-22 has flown DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) against Malaysian Migs or Sukhois; if this is the case, it would be interesting to know which ROE (Rules Of Engagement) were applied and the outcome of the confrontations between the Russian multirole planes and the U.S. most advanced fighters.

 

[Photo] U.S. F-22 Raptors refuel from KC-135 over the Persian Gulf

U.S. F-22 stealth jets deployed in the Gulf take fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker.

In order to keep their radar invisibility, U.S. F-22 Raptor multirole jets operating from Al Dhafra, UAE, fly their Combat Air Patrol missions over the Persian Gulf without their underwing tanks.

Refuel close up

That’s why they may need several plugs into aerial refuelers booms to extend their endurance.

Refuel close up 3

F-22s also fly HVAAE (High Value Asset Air Escort) escorting UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) that operate along the boundaries of the Iranian airspace: during one such missions a Raptor discouraged two Iranian F-4s that were trying to intercept a Raptor drone.

Refuel close up 2

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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F-22 Raptor stealth jets to get automatic backup oxygen systems to prevent new hypoxia-like symptoms

More than 24 months since the last hypoxia-like incident occurred, the U.S. Air Force has decided to equip its F-22s with a backup oxygen system.

The Raptor fleet will soon receive a brand new backup oxygen system as part of multiple contracts awarded to Lockheed Martin (worth 30 Million USD) DefenseNews reported.

F-22s belonging to the 3rd Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have already received the new system, that will be implemented by the rest of the radar-evading planes by the second quarter of year 2015.

Being automatic, the new system does not require pilot intervention; a big improvement from the previous one that had to be activated by the pilot, which might be quite difficult, if not impossible if the latter was experiencing hypoxia-like/oxygen deprivation symptoms.

Because of the mysterious problem that plagued the stealthy fleet to such an extent the radar-evading aircraft were grounded back in 2011 following a deadly incident involving an Alaska-based, the Pentagon initially grounded the F-22s, and then, after lifting the flight ban, it restricted Air Force Raptors to fly near a “proximate landing location” in order to give pilots the possibility to land quickly if their planes’ On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) fail.

In May 2012, two 1st Fighter Wing “whistleblowers” appeared on CBS 60 minutes to explain why they were “uncomfortable” flying the Raptor (before changing idea few days later).

The installation of the new automatic backup oxygen system is not the only upgrade the U.S. Raptors will get in 2015: according to DefenseNews, along with advanced electronic warfare protection and improved ground threat geolocation, F-22s should also get the ability to carry AIM-120D and AIM-9X advanced missiles.

In April 2013, the plan to integrate the Visionix Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS), that would have made the F-22 capable to use HOBS (High Off Boresight System) air-to-air missiles as the AIM-9X, filling a gap against other current and future stealth planes in close air combat, was cancelled following the cuts imposed by the sequestration.

Let’s see what happens this time.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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No, six F-22 stealth fighters are not deploying anywhere near Russia

According to some rumors, the six F-22 Raptor stealth jets that left the U.S. on Saturday were deploying near Russia following the Crimean crisis. But the aircraft were simply heading to the Middle East.

On Mar. 30, six F-22 from Langley Air Force Base made a stopover at Moron air base, in Spain. The Raptors had departed as Mazda 01 from the U.S. as a flight of 8 (2 were spares) on Mar. 29 and had crossed the Atlantic Ocean alongside the accompanying tankers: two KC-10 (Gold 51 and 52, 87-0118 and 85-0032) from McGuire Air Force Base, NJ, and a spare KC-135R (Gold 53 62-3547) from Pease Air National Guard Base, NH.

Milair UHF and VHF band listeners on the East Coast monitored the F-22 formation through initial contact with Giant Killer, rejoin with the tankers and subsequent Oceanic Clearance to destination.

The news that six Raptors were crossing the Pond on a Coronet East mission fueled rumors that the stealth multirole jets could be deploying as a further U.S. response to the Russian invasion of Crimea.

However, it quickly turned out that the F-22s were just involved in the usual rotation at Al Dhafra UAE: indeed, after the stop in Spain, the six aircraft headed to the Persian Gulf, were they have been a constant presence for some years.

Anyway, a deployment in Poland, Turkey or Romania, would be no more than a symbolic move: the U.S. radar-evading planes could only deter Russia’s aircraft from supporting ground operations and prevent them from operating undisturbed in the skies over Crimea or eastern Ukraine.

For real war, Pentagon would have to commit different and more capable tools of persuasion.

H/T to Kyle Fleming for providing additional details about the deployment as well as audio recordings of both Mazda 01 and Gold 51 flights.

Image credit: Daniel Guerra

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Selfie with stealth: French pilot takes shot while U.S. F-22 Raptor formates on his left wing

A French Mirage 2000 pilot in a cool selfie as a U.S. F-22 stealth fighter formates on his wing during a joint exercise.

The image (a frame of GoPro video) was probably taken during the deployment at Al Dhafra airbase, in the UAE, of U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors.

According to the French pilots, aerial combat with the Raptor is extremely important, regardless of the outcome of the dogfight: training with the F-22 gives French Mirage 2000 the possibility to learn to fight against a superior fighter: “Sometimes a battle begins even before meeting the adversary, when it is necessary to convince themselves that the opponent is not so terrible, and despite the gap of performance, the technological chasm, one is able to get the game.”

Image credit: Groupe de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes

 

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