Hobby Master HA2821 USAF Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor Air Dominance Fighter - AF 09185, 1st Operations Group, Langley AFB, Virginia, June 2017 [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
"The F-22's integrated avionics gives it first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability that will guarantee U.S. air dominance for the next 40 years."
- Lockheed-Martin, prime contractor for the F-22 Air Dominance Fighter
Intended to be the leading American advanced tactical fighter in the early part of the 21st century, the Raptor is the world's most expensive fighter to date costing about $120 million per unit, or $361 million per unit when development costs are added. Part of the reason for the decrease in the requirement is that the F-35 Lightning II uses much of the technology used on the F-22, but at a much more affordable price. To a large extent the cost of these technologies is only lower for the F-35 because they have already been developed for the F-22. Had the F-22 not been developed, the costs of these technologies for the F-35 would have been significantly higher.
Next generation technology abound in the Raptor. For starters, the F-22's dual Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners incorporate thrust vectoring. Thrust vectoring is in the pitch axis only, with a range of 20 degrees. The maximum thrust is classified, though most sources place it at about 35,000 lbf (156 kN). Maximum speed is estimated to be Mach 1.72 in supercruise mode and without external weapons; with afterburners, it is - greater than Mach 2.0 - (2120 km/h), according to Lockheed Martin. The Raptor can easily exceed its design speed limits, particularly at low altitudes; max-speed alerts help prevent the pilot from exceeding the limits. Gen. John P. Jumper, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, September 6th, 2001 to September 2nd, 2005, flew the Raptor faster than Mach 1.7 without afterburners on January 13th, 2005. The absence of variable intake ramps may make speeds greater than Mach 2.0 unreachable, but there is no evidence to prove this. Such ramps would be used to prevent engine surge, but the intake itself may be designed to prevent this. Former Lockheed Raptor chief test pilot Paul Metz says the Raptor has a fixed inlet. Paul Metz has also stated that the F-22 has a top speed greater than 1600 mph (Mach 2.42) and its climb rate is faster than the F-15 Eagle. This is because the F-22 is one of the few fighter aircraft with a thrust to weight ratio significantly greater than 1:1.
The true top-speed of the F-22 is largely unknown, as engine power is only one factor. The ability of the airframe to withstand the stress and heat from friction is a key factor, especially in an aircraft using as many polymers as the F-22. However, while some aircraft are faster on paper, the internal carriage of its standard combat load allows the aircraft to reach comparatively higher performance with a heavy load over other modern aircraft due to its lack of drag from external stores. It is one of a handful of aircraft that can sustain supersonic flight without the use of afterburner augmented thrust. The fuel usage from using afterburners would have greatly reduces its flight time.
The F-22 is highly maneuverable, at both supersonic and subsonic speeds. The usage of the F-22's thrust vectoring nozzles allows the aircraft to turn tightly, and perform extremely high alpha maneuvers such as Pugachev's Cobra and the Kulbit. The F-22 is also capable of maintaining a constant angle of attack of over 60 degrees.
Avionics include Raytheon and Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, possibly the most capable radar in active service, with both long-range target acquisition and low probability of interception of its own signals by enemy aircraft.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a US F-22A Raptor that was attached to the 1st OG, then deployed to Langley AFB, Virginia, during June 2017.
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Historical Account: "Conquer or Die" - The 1st Operations Group (1 OG) is the flying component of the 1st Fighter Wing, assigned to the USAF Air Combat Command. The group is stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The 1st Operations Group is the oldest major air combat unit in the United States Air Force, being the successor organization of the 1st Pursuit Group. The 1st Pursuit Group was the first air combat group formed by the Air Service, American Expeditionary Force, on May 5th, 1918.
The Group was first organized at Croix de Metz Aerodrome, near Toul, France, as a result of the United States entry into World War I. As the 1st Pursuit Group it saw combat on the Western Front in France, and during World War II as the 1st Fighter Group combat in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Pilots of the 1st Group are credited by the USAF with destroying 554.33 aircraft and 50 balloons, and 36 pilots are recognized as being aces.
The pilots of the 1st Group included Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, credited as the top scoring American ace in France during World War I. During World War II, the 1st FG was among the first groups deployed overseas in the summer of 1942. The group flew missions in England as part of the Eighth Air Force, then was transferred to North Africa in November 1942. It experienced significant combat as part of the Twelfth Air Force, moved to Italy, and became part of the fighter force of the Fifteenth Air Force. The 1st FG was equipped with the first operational U.S. jet fighter aircraft, the P-80A Shooting Star, in 1946.
Inactivated in 1961, after 30 years the group was renamed the 1st Operations Group (OG) and activated on October 1st, 1991, as a result of the 1st Fighter Wing implementing the USAF objective wing organization. In 2005, the 1st OG was the first operational combat unit to receive the F-22A Raptor, a fifth generation fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology.