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"F-22 Raptors: new air-to-air attack weapons" Topic

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523 hits since 15 May 2019
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian15 May 2019 9:05 p.m. PST

The U.S. Air Force is now integrating new weapons onto 143 F-22s to massively expand their target envelope, air-to-air attack range and lock-on-launch precision -- to preserve the widely held belief that the stealth fighter is the most advanced and dominant air-to-air fighter ever to exist…


emckinney16 May 2019 10:00 a.m. PST

Wait, AIM-9X wasn't integrated yet???

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2019 8:45 p.m. PST

I was surprised by that as well, but it is true, not yet integrated.

Same goes for the helmet-mounted sights too, for the AAMs.

Seems a bit daft that older, less capable jets would have both of those, but the F-22s don't. Hope they get those issues sorted out soon.

A couple other crazy things:

I'm still not sure the F-22's have a working gun tied in with their HUDs. Last I read, the software for that would be written and made available sometime after 2020.

Also, not all of the F-22's are even combat capable, and we have so few of them. A lot of the trainers and test aircraft can't even fire weapons, or if they can, they don't have the latest, greatest tech.

That's because the planes and their weaponry in development are so expensive. Only about 60% – 67% of the USAF's F-22s are fully combat capable.

Apparently, the others are being used for training, and to cut costs.

Lion in the Stars17 May 2019 7:05 p.m. PST

@Thresher: Sure you don't mean the F35 in those comments?

F22s have been in service for over 15 years!

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2019 11:07 p.m. PST

Nope, at least on the weaponry development issue for the F-22 – Aim-9X, no helmet mounted sights, and only about 2/3rds of them are combat ready ("combat coded" is apparently the term they're using for the Raptor).

"The service currently has 186 operational Raptors remaining in its inventory — of which only 123 are "combat coded" according to Air Combat Command".


Things are so dire for the F-22s, and they're spread so thin, that several squadrons at Red Flag, and/or the training center in NV have to share them. IIRC, I think it's one reduced squadron (not even a full one), being shared between three different USAF squadrons for training, and development.


"Fulfilling the operational need for air superiority fighters will be further strained in the near term because the F-22 retrofit—a mix of structural alterations to the fleet of aircraft needed for the airframe to reach its promised service life—has been forecasted to run through 2021. As a result of the retrofit, only 62 percent (103 of 166) of the active duty mission fleet of F-22As are currently available.35".


"Moreover, the Raptor's software is particularly obtuse and difficult to upgrade — which is partly why integrating the AIM-9X and AIM-120D missiles onto the aircraft has been so problematic".

You're correct on the gun issue though, now that you mention that – it is "The F-35 Coot" that is having those software issues. Supposedly, the guns have been tested and can be fired, but no one has confirmed that the software is in place and working, to enable the gun's rounds to hit their target(s) reliably.

I blame old age and lack of sleep for that mistake.

Found it – "But to field even that paltry force, the Air Force had to cut its test and training force to the bone—so much so that the elite pilots at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., have to share their thirteen F-22s with their operational test community brethren across the ramp at the 53d Test and Evaluation Group. That means the two Nellis squadrons are sharing half-a-squadron worth of planes amongst them".


Also, from the above article – "Nor will the Raptor receive a helmet-mounted cueing system—which would allow it to take full advantage of the AIM-9X—until 2020 at the earliest. The original plan was to field the Raptor with a helmet-mounted cueing system on Day One—but a combination of a lack of funding and technical problems torpedoed that plan".

While reading about this, and others, also saw that we're now down to only 96 F-15Cs too. Perhaps not surprising when we see the design is 40+ years old. They don't seem to have the longevity of the B-52s, which many seem to think will still be in service a full century after they first flew for the country.


Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2019 11:16 p.m. PST

If that wasn't bad enough, Hurricane Michael damaged approximately 10% of the total "fleet" of F-22s – 17 jets affected.


Even worse, if any/all of them were the "combat-coded" jets (haven't seen any mention of that), then almost 15% of those may be out of action, or destroyed.

From what I've read too, there are at least three others that were damaged/destroyed in other accidents, that are proving very difficult, if not impossible to repair, due to missing parts and tooling for them.

So, that's 20 aircraft U/S (unserviceable) out of the 120 combat ready jets, and/or the approximately 180 Raptors produced (some of the very early test aircraft are not combat capable and are so "old" as to be deemed unfit for upgrading, despite having such a shortage of them that it would seem like a good thing to do).

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