We take a detailed look at the staggering capabilities of the USAF’s flagship fifth-generation stealth fighters, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, comparing the contrasting strengths of the air arm's aircraft.
Often labelled as the most air dominant jet in the world, the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor has been popular across the globe for many years. With a combination of stealth, speed, agility and situational awareness, the aircraft has become the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) primary air-superiority fighter. Although it cannot match this feat and has shortcomings in comparison, the F-35 also fills in gaps the F-22 cannot, being designed as a true multi-role platform. The soaring cost of the Raptor led the US to prioritise production of the Lightning II – as it has significantly lower production and operational costs and has the wider capabilities to combat ground- and sea-based targets. The US military has plans to produce the F-35 until 2037 and opted to cease production of the F-22 – with the 187th and final example delivered to the USAF in 2012.