The J-20, is a secret project of the Chinese Republic which is also designated to compete with the fifth generation jets
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The F-22 is still the only stealth fighter jet to have proven itself operationally
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The Sukhoi T-50, which according to Russia will be the Russian answer to the F-22, is planned for 2016
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From its maiden flight 18 years ago until today, the “Raptor” is considered the best fighter jet
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The F-22 “Raptor”, the fifth generation stealth fighter jet, flew for the first time 18 years ago. In spite of worldwide efforts to create worthy opponents, the F-22 remains a leading fighter jet, shrouded in mystery
From its maiden flight 18 years ago until today, the “Raptor” is considered the best fighter jet. Its maneuverability and speed, combined with its aerodynamic structure, provide it impressive flight skills which were never seen before.
The arms race for the best, fastest, most furtive fighter jet in the world was initiated with the development of the F-22. “Immediately after the F-22 was publically exposed, everybody started working on developing a stealth jet”, says Arie Egozi, an aviation expert and chief editor I-HLS website. “Great powers began competing for staying one step ahead of the rest. Technologies continue to advance which makes the newest jets also the most advanced”.
Stealth and Lethal
The strategic stealth capability, enabling the fighter jet to remain invisible to its enemy, has become the main target in the race toward achieving the world’s best fighter jet. Nonetheless, from an engineering perspective, stealth is a highly complicated skill to acquire and the only two operational fifth generation stealth fighter jets today are the F-22 and the F-35, which will join the IAF a year and a half ago.
The Sukhoi T-50, which according to Russia will be the Russian answer to the F-22, is planned for 2016. The Chinese answer, the J-20, is a secret project of the Chinese Republic which is also designated to compete with the fifth generation jets. However, the F-22, which was manufactured by “Lockheed Martin” and got its wings, parts of the fuselage and avionics systems from “Boeing”, is still the only stealth fighter jet to have proven itself operationally.
The F-22 flies at over Mach 2.47 and is capable of taking sharp and fast turns thanks to its Thrust Vector Control. The jet is equipped with advanced Electronic Warfare systems and strong radar, which is basically the major and most important sensor on the aircraft. “Even though it was produced a relatively long time ago, the plane is highly advanced”, stresses Egozi. “It is built from special materials and has a unique aerodynamic shape which breaks most of the radar waves sent toward it, making it a stealth fighter jet. Despite of the fact that he is ‘old’ in comparison to the new stealth fighter jets, its systems are constantly being replaced with new ones, keeping it relevant”.
Many countries across the world, including Israel, took an interest in acquiring the F-22s a few years ago, but the ban on their export outside the USA has annulled the purchase proposals. Due to the export ban and the fact that the USA is the only client operating theF-22, the company has produced less than 190 planes, an extremely low number in view of the production costs. The F-22 is the most expensive fighter jet in world which is sold for 330 million dollars per piece.