F-22 Raptor

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The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation supermaneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence[6] roles. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22. Program partner Boeing Defense, Space & Security provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and all of the pilot and maintenance training systems.

The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 during the years prior to formally entering USAF service in December 2005 as the F-22A. Despite a protracted and costly development period, the United States Air Force considers the F-22 a critical component for the future of US tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter,[2] while Lockheed Martin claims that the Raptor's combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, makes it the best overall fighter in the world today.[7] Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Chief of the Australian Defence Force, said in 2004 that the "F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built."[8]

The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air combat missions because of the lengthy delays in the Russian and Chinese fifth generation fighter programs, a US ban on Raptor exports, and the development of the cheaper and more versatile F-35 resulted in calls to end F-22 production.[N 1] In April 2009 the US Department of Defense proposed to cease placing new orders, subject to Congressional approval, for a final procurement tally of 187 Raptors.[10] The US Senate and House each passed 2010 budget bill versions without F-22 production funding in July 2009.[11] Congress worked to combine these versions into one bill,[12] and President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 in October 2009, without funding for F-22 production.[13]

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