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F-22 Raptor - Future Upgrades/Versions?

JasonSpidey

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F-22 Raptor production has been shut down for now, and admittedly, the production line re-opening seems unlikely. But with all the problems surrounding the F-35 and a sixth-generation fighter at least 15-20 years from production, it seems feasible that the U.S. Air Force might decide at some point in the near future that buying a few new F-22s is a worthwhile investment.

But presumably, if they'd do so, they wouldn't spend $250-500M reopening the line just to build the same fighter—they'd want an upgraded version. So what upgrades/new versions would you suspect are feasible? Could we expect an F-22B two-seater in 10 years? An F-22C with advanced stealth in 15? An F-22E with a laser cannon in lieu of the 20mm Vulcan in 20? I'm interested to know what all you geniuses think.
 

chuck4

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IRST would be an obvious upgrade to help with confrontations with other g5 stealth fighters, and probably also the biggest bang for the buck.


Cheek radars would be lower priority so long as the US would likely retain a preponderance in both surveillance assets and networking in likely battlefield. But if it become necessary to keep assets like AWACS from battlefields due to presence of such adversaries as j-20, it might be advantageous to fit the cheek radars that f-22 was designed for.


HMS would probably be a low priority because with only 187 f-22s, it should be the American strategy to make the maximum use of the f-22 stealth and speed, and avoid at all cost dog fighting with f-22.


My own feeling is f-35 really won't cut it against j-20 and t-50, and there will be a 10 year period between 2020 and 2030 when the US would wish it had a larger force of f-22s.
 

JasonSpidey

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Okay, forgive my ignorance, but what does HMS mean in this context?
 

malipa

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Maybe a new view on the FB-22? Or a F-22B and F-22C, the B the two person and the F-22C the one person variants, with enhanced weapon bays and with strengthened wings to carry a total of two stealth weapon/fuelpods, which have the size of the f-18 international ones or other stealth wingpods. Maybe the EOTS of the F-35 can be installed as well. Just brainstorming.
 

chuck4

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malipa said:
Maybe a new view on the FB-22? Or a F-22B and F-22C, the B the two person and the F-22C the one person variants, with enhanced weapon bays and with strengthened wings to carry a total of two stealth weapon/fuelpods, which have the size of the f-18 international ones or other stealth wingpods. Maybe the EOTS of the F-35 can be installed as well. Just brainstorming.
I think restarting F-22 production in any form is a long shot.
 

kilokb

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A 25'' stretch in front of the wing to lengthen the bays with minor changes in inlet skins to slightly deepen the longer bay. allowing 120D in the side bay as well as a 2k weapon on each inboard side of lower bays with option of four 1k weapons or up to six more 120Ds in the main. A DSI inlet and modern skin tech for improved signature. The increased fuel in the lengthened fus would increase range and DAS and EOTS would improve SA and targeting capability. Finally a HMS to improve WVR when using side door mounted 9X.
 

2IDSGT

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Cheek-AESA, IRST, HMS, 25'' stretch (might also be good for fuel-capacity)... all good ideas. One might also add full-on transplants of F-35 avionics and skin technology as well.

An impossible dream to say the least.

However, consider what the USAF might be needing in 20 years or so. Does anyone remember how the USN beat the system to get what was essentially a new fighter on the cheap in the 1990s? A Super-Raptor, as it were, would be a rather convenient way to avoid the bureaucratic/fiscal nightmares of an all-new platform, even if entails what is really a completely different airplane. As long as it looks pretty-much the same, the USAF will be able to say that it's only buying updated hardware and not a brand-new thingabobber (avoiding the cost/time of design competitions and fly-offs); the politicians/media will be too stupid to tell the difference and won't pay much attention (which often seems to make the difference in how well programs do)
 

ouroboros

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By that rationale though, one could make the argument that a X-44 like tailless upgraded F-22 would be a suitable alternative to a new build NGAD/FA-XX. Ghosts of the naval swing wing F-22?
 

chuck4

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New production air superiority f-22 with fully updated avionics has to come at some expense of the funding and schedule of f-22's successor. Given this trade off, whether it should be done really depends on detailed geopolitical forecast. If we think there is strong possibility of sharp armed conflict with Russia or china or their direct proxies between 2020-2030, it might be a good idea. Otherwise no.
 

Steve Pace

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LM manufactured 195 F-22As and USAF/ACC has approximately 185 of these in service. Some of these will crash, and God forbid, some of these will be lost in combat. Nevertheless, I don't foresee any major changes being made to the existing fleet of Raptors in anyway, shape or form. The sad truth is "when they're gone, they're gone." -SP
 

Vahe Demirjian

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Steve Pace said:
LM manufactured 195 F-22As and USAF/ACC has approximately 185 of these in service. Some of these will crash, and God forbid, some of these will be lost in combat. Nevertheless, I don't foresee any major changes being made to the existing fleet of Raptors in anyway, shape or form. The sad truth is "when they're gone, they're gone." -SP
Lockheed Martin has already been awarded a contract to do upgrades on the F-22's systems----- see the February 2013 article at Flight Global (http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lockheed-awarded-69-billion-f-22-upgrade-contract-382576/).

With the Next Generation Air Dominance program in the early stages of development, it may be several years before the cost of maintaining and upgrading the F-22 fleet is no longer sustainable.
 
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