Raptor Upgrades

USAF debates major upgrade for F-22 Raptors

Stephen Trimble at Flight Global:

Under review is a proposal to upgrade nearly half of the USAF’s fleet of 186 operational F-22s with a suite of advanced new weapons that have entered service during the last few years, plus advanced communications equipment that is still in development…Under the common configuration plan, the combat-coded F-22 fleet is separated into groups of 63 Block 30 and 87 Block 35 aircraft.

The Block 30s are being upgraded with Increment 3.1 capabilities, which include air-to-ground and electronic attack modes for the Northrop Grumman APG-77 radar.

Meanwhile, the Block 35s will also be modernised with the USAF’s most advanced air-to-air weapons – the Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder. The package, named Increment 3.2, also adds an automatic ground collision avoidance system and the multifunction advanced datalink. The latter will allow the F-22 to transmit data to other stealth aircraft.

USAF officials are now debating whether to upgrade the 63 Block 30 aircraft to the Block 35 standard. If the proposal is accepted, the USAF would operate a fleet of 150 F-22s with identical capabilities.

Check Flight Global for all the details.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, fly over the Pacific Ocean near Guam Feb. 16, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey/Released)

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, fly over the Pacific Ocean near Guam Feb. 16, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey/Released)

Comments

  1. Hmmm. I see a force-on-force exercise in the near future wherein the Raptors get waxed….”See? We NEED these upgrades or we’ll never be able to defeat “

    1. To be honest, now that the option to keep building them is off the table, I wonder if we’ll be seeing the success rate drop. In part because people will start to figure out how to fight the thing successfully and in part because there’s nothing politically to be gained by making sure it’s the best thing being built.

      1. It doesn’t help that they show the F-22 off at airshows and give demonstrations of its movable control surfaces. I don’t think we are going to sell this to any foreign nation, so what’s the point in showing it off?

        During the Cold War both sides were able to keep the lid on many of their projects. Even if the other side knew of its existence, they never knew the full capabilities. Remember the Mig-25? Until the Bilenko flew one to Japan, we had that plane all wrong. We thought it was something other than what it was.

  2. They’re long overdue for an upgrade, having been manufactured in the 2000s, finalized in the 1990s, and developed and prototyped in the 1980s, as a response to requirements molded in a (then) present-day context during the 1970s…

    …for an airframe that can protect America’s Discos from the Soviet Union.

Comments are closed