This photo shows how F-22s get rid of external fuel tanks to achieve full stealthiness

Aug 08 2014 - 8 Comments

This is how an F-22 Raptor becomes (almost completely) stealth.

Even if it has internal weapons bays, the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter plane relies on unstealthy fuel tanks when it needs to increase its range. Obviously, air-to-air refueling from a tanker is an option but since aerial refuelers are not always available, peacetime operations and deployments are normally conducted with external tanks carried on the underwing pylons.

But, if the operation required (almost) complete invisibility to radars, fuel tanks would be jettisoned and the scene would be more or less as the one depicted in the image in this post taken in 2004 during the first F-22 inflight external tank jettison test.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin