Warplanes: Beyond Stealth in the F-22


September 19, 2006: Aerial combat exercises with the F-22 have shown that the new aircraft often has an insurmountable advantage over the enemy. This is because, not only is the F-22 very difficult to spot via radar (especially at distances over fifty kilometers, which is the kind of minimum distance the F-22 likes to keep from enemy fighters), but it often doesn't have to transmit anything at all. No radar, no radio, no way for the enemy to find out where the F-22 is. That's because the F-22 can receive situation updates from AWACs, Global Hawks, satellites or any other radar data available. This information shows where the enemy aircraft are, and the F-22 can knock them down with AMRAAM missiles (max range, over 80 kilometers).
That works if the enemy cooperates, and the U.S. Air Force is trying to determine what kind of clever tactics various potential enemies can come up with, and then figure out how to defeat these ploys. All that sort of thing is kept pretty secret. But the basic scenario is pretty simple, and not very favorable to the side that doesn't have F22s.
These tactics are not new, but using them in a stealthy aircraft makes an enormous difference. The large array of electronic gadgets carried by the F-22, and it's supersonic cruising speed all contribute.


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