What do you get when you give an already deadly predator even more weapons? The upgraded F-22 Raptor. By 2019, the F-22 Raptor, already the apex predator of the skies, will be configured to carry upgraded air to air missiles along with an upgraded electronics suite that will allow the F-22 to work in concert with the up and coming F-35 will make having air supremacy a given.
The Raptor already carries AIM 9x Block 1 and will upgrade to the AIM 9x Block 2, which features an upgraded fuse and upgraded lock on after launch capability. It’s a great time to be a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. In addition, the Raptor will also be upgraded to carry the AIM 120D missile. Previous versions of the AIM 120 have given our pilots the edge in air-to-air combat for generations and this new model will carry on that tradition.
“The F-22 is designed to fly in concert with F-35. Software Update 6 for the F-22 will give the Air Force a chance to link their sensor packages together. Sensors are a key component to its capability. As the F-22 gets its new weapons on board – you are going to need to upgrade the sensors to use the new weapons capability,” said John Cottam, F-22 Program Deputy, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Ensuring that our missiles can hit what we want to hit with them is why the upgrade in the electronics suite is so important. Improved sensors, antenna and data links to share information and to make sure we see the enemy first is essential to mission success. Fighting and winning the battle in the air just got exponentially easier, as we can now reach out and touch the enemy from even further.
The F-22 Raptor isn’t perfect, but this does get it that much closer to perfection! Some people might say it’s overkill, and while they technically might be right, we really don’t ever think too much of a good thing could possibly be bad! Yes, the Air Force really does get all the cool stuff.