TYPE: US Air Force (originally also US Navy) advanced tactical fighter.

PROGRAMME: US Air Force requirement for McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle replacement incorporating low observables technology and supercruise (supersonic cruise without afterburner); parallel assessment of two new power plants; request for information issued 1981; concept definition studies awarded September 1983 to Boeing, General Dynamics, Grumman, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop and Rockwell; requests for proposals issued September 1985; submissions received by 28 July 1986; USAF selection announced 31 October 1986 of demonstration/validation phase contractors: Lockheed YF-22 and Northrop YF-23; each produced two prototypes and ground-based avionics testbed; first flights of all four prototypes 1990. Competing engine demonstration/validation programmes launched September 1983; ground testing began 1986-87; flight-capable Pratt & Whitney YF119s and General Electric YF120s ordered early 1988; all four aircraft/engine combinations flown.
Decision of 11 October 1989 extended evaluation phase by six months; draft request for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) proposals issued April 1990; first artists impressions released May 1990; final FSD requests issued for both weapon system and engine 1 November 1990; proposals submitted 2 January 1991; F-22 and F119 power plant announced by USAF as winning combination, 23 April 1991; EMD engineering, manufacture and development approval planned by late 1991 for 11 flying prototypes (including two tandem-seat) and two static test airframes; first flight 1995; first production batch of four aircraft to be awarded January 1996; to be followed by four, 12, 24, 36 and 48 in 1997-2001; service entry 2000; original requirement for 750 aircraft reduced to 648.
Lockheed teamed with General Dynamics (Fort Worth) and Boeing Military Airplanes to produce two YF-22 prototypes, civil registrations N22YF (with GE YF120) and N22YX (P&W YF119), N22YF rolled out at Palmdale 29 August 1990; first flight/ferry to Edwards AFB 29 September 1990; first air refuelling (11th sortie) 26 October 1990; thrust vectoring in flight 15 November 1990; anti-spin parachute for high angle of attack tests on 34th-43rd sorties; temporarily grounded 28 December 1990; 43 sorties/52.8 hours. N22YX first flight Palmdale-Edwards 30 October 1990; AIM-9M Sidewinder (28 November 1990) and AIM-120 AMRAAM (20 December 1990) launch demonstrations; achieved Mach 1.8 26 December 1990; temporarily grounded after 31 sorties/38.8 hours, 28 December 1990. Flight test demonstrations included 100°/s roll rale at 120 knots (222 km/h; 138 mph) and 'supercruise' flight in excess of Mach 1.58 without afterburner.
Lockheed responsible for project control and systems integration; workload shared equally between three partners; Lockheed constructs forward fuselage and components, including cockpit, with avionics architecture and functional design, displays, controls, air data system and apertures. Boeing responsible for wings, fuselage aft sections, power plant installation, radar, infra-red search and track system (if fitted in production aircraft) and avionics ground prototype. Avionics flight tested in a modified Boeing 757 (N757A) (first flight 17 July 1989). General Dynamics concerned with mid-fuselage, tail assembly, landing gear and key systems including electrical, hydraulic, fuel, flight controls, environment and armament; also integrated electronic warfare system (INEWS), integrated communications/navigation/identification avionics (ICNIA) and INS subsystems. Programme involves 650 suppliers in 32 US states.

VARIANTS: US Navy variant (NATF) to replace Grumman F-14 Tomcat; original requirement for 546 had already been cut to 384. Concurrent development abandoned; option for programme re-start post-1997.

COSTS: $818 million contracts to both ATF teams, October 1986, for 54-month studies; each airframe team investing about $600 million; each engine contractor, about $50 million; total $3,800 million spent by USAF on both ATFs up to April 1991; programme cost (1992) for 648 aircraft is $13,000 million for development and $47,000 million for production; programme unit cost $61 million (1992).

DESIGN FEATURES: Low observables configuration and construction; stealth/agility trade-off decided by design team; target thrust/weight ratio 1.4 (achieved ratio possibly 1.1 at T-O weight); greatly improved reliability and maintainability for high sortie-generation rates, including 15 minute combat turn-round time; enhanced survivability through 'first-look first-kill' capability, short T-O and landing distances, supersonic cruise and manoeuvring (supercruise) in region of Mach 1.5 without afterburning internal weapons storage and generous internal fuel, conformal sensors. Wing leading-edge sweep approximately 48°; trailing-edge some 17° forward; all-moving horizontal tail; canted outward approx 27°. Sidewinder AAMs stored internally in sides of intake ducts, with AMRAAMs in ventral weapons bay. Diamond-shaped cheek air intakes with straight through air ducts; single-axis thrust vectoring available on PW119, but specified performance achievable without.

FLYING CONTROLS: Digital flight control system with fibre optic transmission handling 100 Mbytes/s. Ailerons and flaps occupy almost entire wing trailing-edge; leading-edge flaps; conventional rudders in vertical tail surfaces; slab taileron surfaces, upper fuselage airbrake. Digital flight control system by Lear Astronics.

STRUCTURE: Largely metal (aluminium/titanium/steel 33/24/5 per cent) in prototypes. Extensive use of thermoplastic composites (12 per cent) and thermoset structures (10 per cent); combined total increases to 35-40 per cent in production aircraft.

LANDING GEAR: Menasco retractable tricycle undercarriage, stressed for no-flare landings of up to 3.05 m (10 ft)/s.

POWER PLANT: Two 155 kN (35,000 lb st) class Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 advanced technology reheated engines reportedly developed from F100 turbofan. Two-dimensional convergent/divergent exhaust nozzles, for enhanced STOL performance and manoeuvrability, dropped from ATF specification, but installed in YF-22. Sundstrand Turbomach APU.

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only in Weber zero/zero ejection seat and wearing Tactical Life Support System with upper and lower g-suits and pressure breathing; side-stick controller in prototype; central column in production version.

AVIONICS: Compared with F-15E, F-22 probably has three times as much computer memory and 16 times as many millions of computer operations per second; sensor outputs for display are managed by artificial intelligence or principles of Pilot's Associate system. GEC Avionics wide-angle HUD and sidestick; General Electric multipurpose LCDs; Sanders/GE ESM suite; Texas Instruments mission and display processing computer; Hughes signal processors. Westinghouse and Texas Instruments in competition to provide electronically scanned, phased-array radar. Radar modes include precision landing. Integrated electronic warfare system (INEWS) and integrated communications/navigation/identification avionics (ICNIA).

ARMAMENT: Internal long-barrel M61A1 20 mm gun. Three internal bays (see Design Features) for eight AIM-9 Sidewinder and/or AIM-120 AMRAAM AAMs on 'revolutionary weapon racks'. Have Dash 2 AAM and Have Slick ASM under development.