The Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor.
It is the most feared combat aircraft ever designed by man. A product of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, powered by immensely powerful Pratt & Whitney engines, it is a fifth-generation fighter combining the ability to supercruise–that is, achieve supersonic flight without the use of afterburner, low-observable characteristics (read: STEALTH), along with advanced integrated avionics and sensors.
If you’ve ever seen the F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team perform at a local airshow, you understand what it’s like to be captivated by it. It is a large aircraft, yet it performs maneuvers normally reserved for light aerobatic planes like the Extra, Zivko Edge, or MX-S with the greatest of ease, laughing in the face of gravity, stretching our understanding of physics, and the sound of its afterburners rattles windows, sets off car alarms, and knocks the dust loose from those hard to reach places near your ceiling.
The F-22 has been controversial in the last few years due to problems with the life-support equipment on the aircraft, which create Hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots. As a result of a very in-depth investigation by the USAF and Lockheed-Martin, the problem has apparently been fixed and the Raptor has been turned loose to prowl the skies in the ways only it can.
For the first time in its nine years of service, the F-22 was deployed in combat over Syria very recently, employing precision-guided munitions against ISIS targets. Even the F-22 pilots who spoke out against the aircraft’s problems agreed that if they had to go to war, there’s no other airplane they’d rather be flying.
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