Comparing the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor, two of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, is a complex task. Each aircraft was designed with specific mission requirements and capabilities in mind, leading to differences in performance, technology, and intended roles. Here, we'll delve into a detailed F35 vs F22 comparison of these two cutting-edge aircraft.
The F-22 Raptor, developed by Lockheed Martin, entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 2005. It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, with advanced stealth capabilities and the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously. Its unique combination of stealth, speed, and maneuverability makes it one of the most formidable air superiority fighters in the world.
On the other hand, the F-35 Lightning II, also developed by Lockheed Martin, is a multirole fighter aircraft that entered service with the USAF in 2015. It was designed to perform a wide range of missions, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).
The F-35 is renowned for its advanced sensor fusion, allowing it to gather and process vast amounts of information to provide situational awareness to the pilot.
Both the F-22 and F-35 incorporate stealth technology to reduce their radar cross-section and enhance survivability in contested environments. However, there are differences in their stealth characteristics. The F-22 features a higher degree of stealth, with a smaller radar cross-section compared to the F-35. Its design minimizes radar reflections from multiple angles, giving it a significant advantage in stealth capability.
The F-35, while still highly stealthy, sacrifices some stealth characteristics for its multirole capabilities. Its larger size and broader mission requirements necessitate compromises in stealth design compared to the F-22. Nevertheless, the F-35 still maintains a low observable profile, making it difficult for enemy radars to detect and track.
In terms of performance, the F-22 holds several advantages over the F-35. It boasts superior speed, altitude, and agility, thanks to its advanced aerodynamic design and powerful engines. With its ability to cruise at supersonic speeds without afterburners (supercruise), the F-22 can rapidly maneuver and engage threats across a wide operational area. Additionally, the F-22's thrust-vectoring nozzles provide unmatched agility, allowing it to outmaneuver adversaries in dogfights.
While the F-35 is no slouch in terms of performance, it is not as fast or agile as the F-22. Its emphasis on stealth and multirole capability comes with trade-offs in raw performance metrics. However, the F-35 compensates with advanced avionics, sensor fusion, and network-centric warfare capabilities, enabling it to excel in complex, information-rich environments.
The F-22's primary mission is air superiority, focused on gaining and maintaining control of the airspace. Its advanced sensors and weapons systems allow it to detect and engage enemy aircraft at long ranges, often without being detected. With its stealth and agility, the F-22 is designed to dominate the aerial battlespace and ensure air superiority for friendly forces.
In contrast, the F-35 is a multirole aircraft designed to perform a diverse range of missions. Its versatility allows it to conduct air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance missions. The F-35's sensor fusion capabilities enable it to gather and process vast amounts of data, providing comprehensive situational awareness to the pilot and supporting joint operations with other aircraft and ground forces.
One significant difference between the F-22 and F-35 is their cost and procurement strategy. The F-22 program was relatively limited, with production capped at 195 aircraft due to budget constraints and the perceived shift in focus towards multirole capabilities embodied by the F-35. As a result, the unit cost of the F-22 was higher compared to the F-35.
In contrast, the F-35 program is much larger in scope, with multiple variants developed for different branches of the U.S. military and allied nations. The economies of scale associated with the F-35 program have driven down the unit cost over time, making it a more affordable option for countries seeking advanced fifth-generation capabilities.
The F-35 is more capable when it comes to weaponry. The F-22 cannot internally carry medium-sized or large air-to-ground missiles like the AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon since it is a specialized vehicle designed for air superiority. Because of this, the more adaptable F-35 is fully capable of carrying out all of these tasks, while the F-22 lacks nuclear strike, anti-shipping, anti-radiation, and standoff air-to-ground capabilities.
Because they are complementary to one another, both combatants are required. For the F-22, they are meant to provide air superiority, whereas the F-35 is meant to perform several roles. But which is better for today's combat - F35 vs F22?
The F-35 would have an advantage if it weren't for dogfighting, which hasn't been used in the air battle over Ukraine. Its capabilities as a data collector, a quarterback in the sky who can one day fly with drones, and its capacity to launch stand-off missiles. The F-22 is the recommended aircraft if dogfighting is required, particularly in a battle with China when the Chinese would launch the J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter.
The F-22 Raptor is primarily an air superiority fighter designed for air-to-air combat, while the F-35 Lightning II is a multirole fighter capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance.
The game of sensory and connection is where the F-35 and F-22 vary from one another. While both aircraft possess exceptional situational awareness, the F-35 surpasses it by leveraging its sensors, information fusion, and data link capabilities to increase the lethality and effectiveness of other aircraft, even those that are older.
The F-22 Raptor has superior stealth characteristics with a smaller radar cross-section compared to the F-35 Lightning II. However, both aircraft incorporate stealth technology to reduce detection by enemy radars.
The F-22 Raptor is faster than the F-35 Lightning II. It can cruise at supersonic speeds without afterburners (supercruise), whereas the F-35 has a lower top speed.
Because it would take too long and too much money to prepare the aircraft for combat, the U.S. Air Force is unable to utilize its F-22 Block 20 aircraft in combat.
The F/A-18E Super Hornet can fly up to 1,275 nautical miles at a maximum speed of Mach 1.8, while the F-35 Lightning II can fly up to 1,200 nautical miles at its maximum speed of Mach 1.6.
Both the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II represent the pinnacle of modern fighter aircraft technology. The F-22 excels in air superiority missions, with unmatched stealth, speed, and agility. On the other hand, the F-35 offers a more versatile multirole capability, with advanced sensor fusion and network-centric warfare capabilities. Ultimately, the F35 vs F22 choice between the two aircraft depends on the specific operational requirements and mission objectives of the user.