F-22 Thrust Vectoring at Work

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.

Copyright: Jim Mumaw, 2015
An F-22 maneuvering to the right side of the image; Edwards AFB, CA © Jim Mumaw, 2015

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.


One thought on “F-22 Thrust Vectoring at Work

  1. The Question is how needy maintenance wise are the F22 engines and the F35 engines? Are they as needy and expensive to up-keep as the SR 71 was? The SR was a great aircraft but very expensive to maintain which is why it was a specialty aircraft but then retired when the job could be done cheaper! We need an every day aircraft to protect our boarders and go out on patrol without requiring a lot of maintenance per flying hour…maybe that is a Drone future mission.

    Liked by 1 person

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