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As the Soviet empire collapsed the role of the F-22A evolved to encompass the 'deep strike' role of the current F-117A (and earlier the F-111) - destroying heavily defended ground targets using smart bombs.
With the current phase out of the F-117A, the Holloman FW will be one of the first to deploy the Raptor.
Considerable R&D investment was made very early into the supercooled turbine engine technology required to support this regime of flight - stealth became a feature of the ATF program only after the F-117A proved to be viable.
The ATF flyoff saw the stealthier, more agile and faster Northrop/MDC YF-23A pitted against the Lockheed/Boeing/GD YF-22A, with P&W and GE bidding their respective YF119 and YF120 engines.
Given the design aims, development histories and characteristics of these aircraft, this belief is not supportable by available evidence.
This analysis will delve deeper into the differences between the JSF and its more capable generational sibling, the F-22A Raptor, and explore recent developments in the JSF program, with the aim of separating myth from fact.
The F-22A will remain the most survivable strike fighter in existence for decades to come - and the most lethal air superiority fighter.
The current F-22A is a genuine multirole fighter, with high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar capability and to be tasked as much with air superiority as with killing SAM sites, radars, airfields, bunkers, command posts and other high value assets.The enhanced F-15C gained Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) to push internal fuel up from 13,455 lb to 23,200 lb, and avionics/engine enhancements.The F-16A was like the F-15A aimed at air superiority, but limited by radar to mostly day VFR combat.As the Soviets introduced night vision equipment on tanks, and fielded the highly mobile SA-12 (S-300V), SA-11 (9K37), SA-15 (9K330) battlefield air defence weapons, it became evident that the existing fleet of A-10A and A-7D close air support and battlefield interdiction (CAS/BAI) aircraft would be hard pressed to survive, let alone provide the numbers to break the Soviets in the Fulda Gap.While the USAFE F-111E/F deep strike force was being supplemented with 200 of the new Dual Role Fighter (F-15E 'Beagle') and the 60 F-117A stealth fighters, Tactical Air Command's CAS/BAI force was sorely in need of improvement.