Aviation photographer Jim Mumaw recently captured this stunning image of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taking full advantage of its 2-dimensional thrust vectoring capabilities over Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Two Pratt & Whitney F119 afterburning turbofans are the innovative powerplants that endow the Raptor with supermaneuverability delivering more than 35,000 lbf of thrust apiece with the throttles pushed all the way forward. In comparison, the Tumansky R-15B-300 turbojets that provide the MiG-25 Foxbat with the ability to accelerate past Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) can only output around 22,494 lbf per engine. The twin F119s also allow for the Raptor to supercruise, meaning that the aircraft can sustain supersonic flight (at about Mach 1.72) without using its afterburners. Conversely, the F119’s direct derivative, the F135, was not originally designed to afford its host jet, the F-35 Lightning II, the ability to supercruise though it nevertheless allows the F-35 to sustain speeds of up to Mach 1.2 in a supersonic dash for around 150 miles without engaging the afterburner.
Now that’s some serious power.
The Raptor in the picture presumably belongs to the 411th Flight Test Squadron, which was originally responsible for conducting the fly-off competition between the Lockheed Martin YF-22 Raptor and the Northrop Grumman YF-23 Black Widow II/Gray Ghost from 1989-1991. The 411th Flight Test Squadron in turn is part of the 412th Test wing, assigned to Air Force Material Command.