Why the FB-22 Stealth Bomber Is a Game-Changer for American Aviation

FB-22 Bomber

It's all in the history of the FB-22 bomber: the F-22 Raptor is still the most advanced stealth fighter in the world. The F-22 program was cancelled in 2009 because to its excessive price. There were signs that multiple distinct Raptor versions had emerged from the F-22 program before it was canceled. In the early 1990s, for instance, the United States Navy investigated the feasibility of creating a naval derivative of the F-22 Raptor. In addition, the Air Force explored creating a Raptor assault bomber variant in the early and mid-2000s. However, the Air Force ultimately decided to move through with the creation of a brand new long-range bomber rather than revive this program.

The F-22 Project's Past

In an effort to start developing a next-generation fighter aircraft that might address the rising danger posed by advanced Soviet fighters like the MiG. 29 and the Su-27, the United States Air Force launched the advanced tactical fighter program in the 1980s. The Lockheed Martin YF-22 and the Northrop YF-23 are the two prototype fighters that have been created and chosen as the competition's finals. Early in the 1990s, a final competition was held to choose the final design for the Air Force's upcoming air dominance fighter. Despite the YF-23's somewhat better range and stealth characteristics compared to the YF-22, the YF-23-22 was finally chosen as the victor. Despite the YF-23's advantages, the Air Force chose to go with its rival because to Lockheed's superior sales performance and because it thought Lockheed would be more successful in administering the program.

The Raptor began production, testing, and operational service in 1997, respectively. The size of the Raptor program's cost overruns and delays, however, have only been slightly better than that of the Navy's F/A18E/F. The Super Hornet program, which began at the same time as the Raptor program, went much more smoothly; the Super Hornet had already entered full combat production and operational duty during the early phases of the Iraq War.

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Cost-related worries have surfaced, and arguments about how to fairly evaluate the Raptor's expenses have started to develop amongst the plane's supporters and adversaries. The Congressional Research Service estimates that an F-22 cost close to $ 370 million as of December 2010. The F-22 Raptor program would end in 2009, and the Air Force would only be able to purchase a maximum of 187 Raptors.
Lockheed Martin proposed the FB-22 as an upgraded F-22 version.

A study to create a drastically altered F-22 Raptor with greatly enhanced air-to-ground capabilities was started by Lockheed Martin in 2002. These capabilities would come about as a result of the F-22's range being doubled and its internal payload being increased. The concept plane, which was given the FB-22 designation, was never formally included in the F-22 Raptor program. Officials from the Air Force were enthusiastic about their support for the possible FB-22 program because they thought the aircraft may be an excellent platform for future ground forces operations that require close air support. The FB-22 was envisioned by Air Force authorities as a medium-range stealth bomber that could "bridge" the gap between the Air Force's existing bomber force and upcoming bombers.

F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor's avionics were kept in certain design proposals for the FB-22, while the fuselage and wings of the aircraft underwent structural redesigns. Ultimately, the FB-22 was designed with extended delta-shaped wings, which would have allowed the bomber to carry more fuel and ammunition.

As a result of this research, the FB-22 would have been able to carry a significant amount of small-diameter precision-guided bombs as well as up to 5,000 pounds of ammunition. Additionally, compared to the F-22's maximum range of 600 miles, the FB-22 would have had a maximum range of up to 1,600 miles. According to reports, Air Force officials had envisioned a fleet of 150 FB-22s in the future, which the service claimed would be far less expensive than constructing a completely new aircraft due to the potential to use current F-22 technology.

However, the FB-22 bomber program would never have been completed because the DOD chose to pursue a long-range bomber in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, ending any chance for the program. The FB-22 was an intriguing attempt by the Air Force to employ an already-existing aerial platform to effectively cover a capacity shortfall, even though it was never realized.


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