The U.S. Air Force Raptor Demo Team shows what the F-22 Raptor is capable of in an incredible new video. The footage was captured in the skies over Alaska, at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where expert pilot Maj. Josh “Cabo” Gunderson pulled off seemingly impossible maneuvers.
The aircraft goes straight into a steep climb immediately after takeoff, then performs some maneuvers at low altitude before moving higher. The video also shows you what it looks like inside the cockpit.
The prime contractor of the aircraft, Lockheed Martin, built most of the F-22’s airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.
Despite its protracted development and various operational issues, USAF officials consider the F-22 a critical component of the military’s tactical airpower. Its combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and avionics systems enable unprecedented air combat capabilities.
US military officials had originally planned to buy a total of 750 ATFs. In 2009, the program was cut to 187 operational production aircraft due to high costs, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile F-35. The last F-22 was delivered in 2012.
The F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation fighter that is considered the fourth generation in stealth aircraft technology by the USAF. It is the first operational aircraft to combine supercruise, supermaneuverability, stealth, and sensor fusion in a single weapons platform. The F-22 has four empennage surfaces, retractable tricycle landing gear, and clipped delta wings with reverse trailing edge sweep and leading-edge extensions running to the upper outboard corner of the inlets.
The F-22’s high cruise speed and operating altitude over prior fighters improve the effectiveness of its sensors and weapon systems and increase survivability against ground defenses such as surface-to-air missiles. The ability to supercruise, or sustain supersonic flight without using afterburners, allows it to intercept targets which subsonic aircraft would lack the speed to pursue and afterburner-dependent aircraft would lack the fuel to reach.