Sky High

A stealth aircraft is an aircraft that uses stealth technology to make it harder to be detected by radar and other means than conventional aircraft by employing a combination of features to reduce visibility in the visual, audio, infrared and radio frequency (RF) spectrum. Well known examples include the United States' F-117 Nighthawk (1980s-2008) and the modern F-22 Raptor fighter.

While no aircraft is totally invisible to radar, stealth aircraft effectively limit current conventional radar's abilities to detect or track them effectively enough to prevent an attack. Stealth is accomplished by using a complex design philosophy to reduce the ability of an opponent's sensors to detect, track and attack an aircraft.

The F-22 is a multi-role air-superiority fighter with improved capability over current Air Force aircraft. From the inception of the battle, the F-22’s primary objective will be to establish air superiority through the conduct of counter-air operations. The F-22 also has significant air-to-surface capability.


First look/first shot/first kill in all environments. A combination of improved sensor capability, integrated avionics, improved situational awareness, and improved weapons provides first-kill opportunity against the threat. The F-22 possesses a sophisticated sensor suite that allows the pilot to track, identify and shoot the threat before it detects the F-22. Significant advances in cockpit design and avionics fusion improve the pilot’s situational awareness. Advanced avionics technologies allow the F-22 sensors to gather, integrate and display essential information in the most useful format to the pilot.

Stealth. Advances in low-observable technologies provide significantly improved survivability and lethality against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. The F-22’s combination of reduced observability and supercruise accentuates the advantage of surprise in a tactical environment.

Supercruise. The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. This allows the F-22 to efficiently cruise at supersonic airspeeds without using afterburner, a characteristic known as supercruise. Supercruise greatly expands the F-22’s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters, which must use afterburner to operate at supersonic speeds.

"The F-22A advanced tactical fighter can 'supercruise' at sustained speeds of over Mach 1.5 without the use of afterburner.”

Increased maneuverability.
The sophisticated F-22 aerodesign, advanced flight controls with thrust vectoring and high thrust-to-weight ratio provide the capability to outmaneuver all current and projected threat aircraft. The F-22 design has been extensively tested and refined aerodynamically during the demonstration/validation process. Improved combat radius on internal fuel. The F-22 uses low-drag internal weapons carriage and operates at high altitudes to provide air superiority deep into enemy territory at ranges superior to current-generation air-superiority aircraft.

Improved reliability and maintainability. To ensure operational flexibility, the F-22 has better reliability and maintainability than any military fighter in history. An F-22 squadron will require less than half as much airlift as an F-15 squadron to deploy. Increased F-22 reliability and maintainability pays off in less manpower required to fix the aircraft and the ability to operate more efficiently.

Increased lethality and survivability. The F-22's characteristics provide a synergistic effect that ensures F-22 lethality against an advanced air threat. The combination of stealth, integrated avionics and supercruise drastically shrinks surface-to-air engagement envelopes and minimizes enemy capabilities to engage and shoot at the F-22.

Air-to-surface capability. The F-22 has a secondary role to attack surface targets. The aircraft will be capable of carrying two 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) internally and will use on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support.


The F-22 is an air-superiority fighter that incorporates the latest technological gains in reduced observables, avionics, engine performance and aerodynamic design. Knowledge gained from proven weapon systems such as the F-15, F-16 and F-117 formed the foundation for F-22 development.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Fighter, air-superiority.

Builder: Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co., Boeing.

Power Plant: Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles.

Thrust (each engine): 35,000-pound class.

Length: 62 feet, 1 inch (18.9 meters).

Height: 16 feet, 5 inches (5.0 meters).

Wingspan: 44 feet, 6 inches (13.6 meters).

Speed: Mach 2 class (approximately 1,500 miles per hour or 2,400 kilometers per hour at sea level).

Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet (approximately 15 kilometers).

Empty Weight: 40,000-pound class (approximately 18,000 kilograms).

Range: More than 2,000 miles (approximately 3,200 kilometers).

Armament: One M61A2 20-millimeter multibarrel cannon; internal stations can carry AIM-9 infrared (heat seeking) air-to-air missiles and AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles or 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions; external stations can carry additional stores.

Crew: F-22A: one. F-22B: two.

Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003.

Full Operational Capability: 2005.

Projected Inventory: Active: More than 300.

Some info: Officially, the fastest plane ever built is the SR-71 Blackbird, built by Lockheed. It was capable of speeds in excess of 3.3 mach (more than 2,200 miles per hour). It was decommissioned in 1998. No one knows for sure whether a faster plane exists, but many people suspect that the SR-91 -- if it actually exists -- is capable of speeds in 5-mach range, although speeds like that would likely take place outside the Earth's atmosphere.

The fastest known jet airplane is the SR-71 Blackbird. However faster aircraft have been flown by the U.S. military. But they are rocket powered and experimental which does not fall into your question of the fastest "jet" airplane. Also FYI the fastest commercial airliner is the Boeing 747-400.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force

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