How Many F22s Does the US Have? History, Current Status, and Future

The F22 Raptor is one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, and it has been a key asset for the US Air Force since its introduction in 2005. With its advanced capabilities, including stealth technology and high-speed maneuverability, the F22 has been used in numerous missions, from air superiority to ground attacks. However, despite its proven effectiveness, there has been some debate about the number of F22s that the US currently has in operation. This blog post will provide an overview of the history of the F22, its current status within the US Air Force, and what the future holds for this advanced fighter jet.



The F22 Raptor is one of the most advanced fighter jets ever built. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, it was designed to provide the US Air Force with air superiority in any conflict. With its stealth technology and advanced weapons systems, the F22 has been an integral part of the US military’s strategy since it was first introduced.

The F22 program was initiated in the 1980s as a replacement for the aging F15 Eagle. The development process was challenging, with numerous technical hurdles that needed to be overcome. Nevertheless, after more than a decade of research and testing, the F22 finally took to the skies for the first time in 1997.

Since then, the F22 has played a vital role in US operations around the world. Its speed and maneuverability make it highly effective in air-to-air combat, while its advanced weaponry allows it to take out ground targets with deadly accuracy. The US Air Force currently has several squadrons of F22s in active duty, with additional planes in reserve and National Guard units.

However, the F22 is not without its detractors. Some critics have raised concerns about the high cost of the program, as well as issues with maintenance and reliability. These concerns have led to debates within the US military about the future of the F22 program.

Despite these challenges, the F22 remains an impressive feat of engineering and a key asset for the US military. As we delve deeper into the history, current status, and future of this incredible fighter jet, we will discover why the F22 is such an essential component of the US Air Force.

History of the F22



The development of the F22 Raptor, one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, was a joint effort between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The project began in the early 1980s as part of the Advanced Tactical Fighter program, which aimed to replace the aging fleet of US Air Force fighters.

Lockheed Martin was responsible for developing the airframe and avionics systems, while Boeing focused on the engines and other critical components. The companies worked closely with the Air Force to ensure that the F22 met their requirements for range, speed, maneuverability, and stealth.

After years of research and development, the F22 had its first flight in 1997. It was an exciting moment for everyone involved, as they watched their hard work and dedication take to the skies. The F22 performed flawlessly during its test flights, demonstrating its incredible speed and agility.

One of the key features of the F22 is its stealth technology, which makes it virtually invisible to radar. This allows it to fly into enemy territory undetected, giving the US Air Force a significant advantage in any conflict.

Another impressive feature of the F22 is its weapons systems. It can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) and the shorter-range AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. It also has a 20mm Gatling gun mounted internally, which can fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute.

Overall, the development of the F22 was a remarkable achievement in aerospace engineering. It represented the pinnacle of American technological innovation and set a new standard for fighter jets around the world.



The production of the F22 Raptor was a complex and expensive process, with several issues arising during its development. The total cost of the program came to around $67 billion, with each aircraft costing an estimated $150 million. This high cost was due in part to the advanced technology and stealth capabilities of the aircraft, which required extensive research and development.

One of the main issues during production was the difficulty of manufacturing the special materials used in the body of the aircraft. These materials were designed to make the F22 nearly invisible to radar detection, but they also proved challenging to assemble and manufacture, leading to delays and cost overruns.

Despite these challenges, the production of the F22 eventually yielded some impressive results. A total of 195 aircraft were produced between 1997 and 2011, with the first operational unit being declared in 2005. The F22 was initially intended to replace the US Air Force’s aging fleet of F15 fighters, and it has since served as one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world.

Overall, the production of the F22 was a significant undertaking, both in terms of cost and complexity. While there were certainly challenges along the way, the end result was a highly advanced aircraft that has proven to be a valuable asset to the US Air Force.



The F22 Raptor is known for its cutting-edge technology and advanced features, making it one of the most formidable fighter jets in the world. Here are some of the key features that make the F22 such an impressive aircraft:

Stealth Technology

One of the most unique features of the F22 is its stealth technology. The aircraft’s design incorporates a variety of techniques to reduce its radar signature, including special coatings on the surface of the plane that absorb radar signals and internal weapons bays that hide missiles from view. This makes the F22 incredibly difficult to detect, giving it a significant advantage in combat situations.

Weapons Systems

The F22 is equipped with a variety of advanced weapons systems that allow it to engage targets at long distances. Its primary weapon is the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, which has a range of up to 100 miles and is capable of engaging multiple targets simultaneously. The F22 can also carry the GBU-32 JDAM bomb, which can strike targets with extreme precision.


The F22 is one of the fastest fighter jets in the world, with a top speed of over Mach 2. This allows it to quickly engage targets and evade enemy fire. The F22 is also highly maneuverable, thanks to its thrust vectoring system, which allows the pilot to control the direction of the engine exhaust to enhance maneuverability.

In conclusion, the F22’s advanced features, including its stealth technology, weapons systems, and speed, make it one of the most lethal fighter jets in the world. Its combination of advanced technology and high-performance capabilities make it a valuable asset for the United States Air Force.

Current Status of the F22 in the US Air Force



Active Duty

The F22 Raptor is currently in active duty with the US Air Force, where it serves as an advanced air superiority fighter. This means that the aircraft is responsible for maintaining control of the air space and establishing air dominance in any conflict. The F22’s combination of stealth technology, advanced avionics, and high speed make it a formidable opponent in any aerial engagement.


In addition to active duty, the F22 also serves with the Air Force Reserve, which provides additional support to the active duty force when needed. This ensures that there are always enough aircraft and personnel available to meet the demands of any mission or contingency.

National Guard

Finally, the F22 also serves with the National Guard, which is made up of part-time soldiers who serve both their communities and their country. The National Guard plays a crucial role in homeland defense and disaster response, and having access to advanced aircraft like the F22 is essential for fulfilling this mission.

Overall, the operational status of the F22 within the US Air Force is strong, with the aircraft serving in multiple roles and capacities across various branches and units. Its advanced capabilities and versatile design make it a valuable asset for protecting American interests both at home and abroad.



The deployment of the F22 in the US Air Force is a dynamic and complex process that requires careful planning and execution. The aircraft’s advanced capabilities make it an ideal choice for a variety of missions both at home and abroad.


Currently, the F22 is deployed to several locations throughout the United States, including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. Each location offers unique challenges and opportunities for the pilots and crew members who operate the F22.

In addition to domestic bases, the F22 has also been deployed to various international locations in support of US military operations. These include Operation Inherent Resolve in the Middle East and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.


The F22’s capabilities make it well-suited for a range of missions, from air superiority to ground attack and reconnaissance. Its stealth technology allows it to operate undetected in hostile airspace, while its advanced avionics and weapons systems give it unparalleled situational awareness and firepower.

During its deployment, the F22 has been used in a variety of missions, including air-to-air combat, ground attack, and intelligence gathering. Its versatility and adaptability make it an invaluable asset to the US military.


The deployment of the F22 also involves close collaboration with allied nations. Through partnerships and joint training exercises, the US Air Force is able to build stronger relationships with other countries and enhance overall military readiness.

For example, the F22 has been deployed to Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation initiative, which aims to strengthen ties between the two countries’ air forces and promote regional stability. Similar collaborations have taken place with other allies around the world, including Japan and South Korea.

Overall, the deployment of the F22 is a critical component of the US Air Force’s mission to maintain air superiority and protect national security. By leveraging its advanced capabilities in a range of locations and missions, the F22 is helping to shape the future of military aviation and defense.



The F22 has undergone several upgrades since its inception which have improved its capabilities and extended its lifespan. These upgrades can be categorized into three main areas: software, avionics, and weaponry.


The F22’s software is constantly being updated to improve its capabilities and ensure it remains up-to-date with the latest technology. One significant upgrade was the installation of the Increment 3.2B software, which enhanced the jet’s ability to track and engage multiple targets simultaneously. This upgrade allowed the F22 to better handle complex missions and increased its effectiveness in combat scenarios.


The avionics system of the F22 has also undergone upgrades to improve functionality and enhance situational awareness for pilots. One significant upgrade was the installation of the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), which provides a last resort protection to prevent aircraft crashes into the ground due to pilot disorientation or incapacitation. Auto GCAS was successfully tested during an operational flight in 2017, which saved the life of a pilot when his F-22 entered an uncontrolled dive.

Another significant upgrade was the addition of the Synthetic Aperture Radar Terrain Following (SAR-TF) mode, which enables the F22 to fly lower and faster while navigating through rough terrain. This mode enhances the overall stealthiness of the aircraft by allowing it to operate at lower altitudes, closer to enemy air defenses while maintaining jam-resistant communications with friendly forces.


The F22’s weaponry has also received several upgrades, including the integration of the AIM-9X missile, which can engage targets with a high degree of accuracy at short range. The F22 has also been fitted with the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) systems, which provide precision strike capabilities against both stationary and moving targets. The Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) has also been integrated into the F22’s arsenal, which significantly improves its air-to-air combat capabilities.

Overall, the upgrades to the F22 software, avionics, and weaponry have significantly improved the jet’s combat capabilities, extending its lifespan and making it a formidable force in the US Air Force’s arsenal.

Future of the F22 in the US Air Force



The F22 Raptor has been in service with the United States Air Force (USAF) since 2005 and has proven to be a highly effective fighter jet, both in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. However, there have been talks of retirement for this advanced stealth aircraft.


The USAF currently plans to keep a fleet of 186 F22s in service until at least 2040. This plan involves upgrading the aircraft’s software, avionics, and weaponry to keep up with evolving threats and maintain its dominance in the skies.


Despite the success of the F22, there are several reasons why retirement has been discussed. One major factor is the high cost of maintaining and operating these advanced aircraft. The F22 was one of the most expensive weapons systems ever developed, with each unit costing around $150 million. Additionally, the aircraft’s sophisticated technology requires specialized maintenance and training, which adds to the overall cost.

Another reason for retirement is the development of new, more advanced fighter jets, such as the F35 Lightning II and the Next Generation Air Dominance program. These aircraft are designed to incorporate the latest technological advancements, including artificial intelligence and drone capabilities, which could surpass the capabilities of the F22.


There is no set timeline for the retirement of the F22, but it is clear that the USAF will eventually phase out this aircraft. The exact timeline will depend on several factors, including the success of the F35 and other next-generation fighters, as well as budget constraints and strategic planning.

In conclusion, while the retirement of the F22 may not happen immediately, it is a possibility for the future. The USAF will continue to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of this aircraft, and make decisions based on current and future threats, technological advancements, and budget considerations.



The F22 is a highly advanced fighter jet, but it is not the only one in the US Air Force’s arsenal. In fact, there are plans to replace the F22 with newer and even more advanced planes. Two potential replacements are the F35 and the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) plane.


The F35 is another stealth fighter that is currently in production. It is designed to be a multirole fighter, meaning it can perform a variety of missions such as air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and reconnaissance. The F35 also has some impressive technological features, such as advanced sensors and an integrated communications system.

However, some experts have raised concerns about the cost of the F35 program. It has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, with estimates putting the total cost at over $1 trillion over the life of the program. Additionally, some have criticized its performance in certain areas, such as dogfighting.

Next Generation Air Dominance

The NGAD program is still in development, so details are scarce. However, what we do know is that it is intended to be an even more advanced stealth fighter than the F22 or the F35. It will likely incorporate advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems.

One area where the NGAD may have an advantage is in its development timeline. The F35 program has been ongoing for decades, while the NGAD program is just getting started. This could allow for more agile development and integration of new technologies.


Both the F35 and the NGAD are part of a larger competition to maintain air supremacy in the face of rapidly advancing technology. Other countries, such as Russia and China, are developing their own advanced fighter jets and other aircraft. This means that the US needs to stay on the cutting edge of aviation technology to maintain its military superiority.

In conclusion, while the F22 is an impressive aircraft, it will eventually need to be replaced by newer and more advanced planes. The F35 and NGAD are two potential replacements that offer unique advantages and challenges. As the competition for air dominance heats up, it will be interesting to see how these programs develop and what new technologies they will incorporate.

Technological Advancements

Technological Advancements

With the rapidly evolving nature of warfare, the US Air Force is always seeking to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technological advancements. In recent years, three key areas have emerged as critical: artificial intelligence (AI), drones, and cybersecurity.


AI has the potential to revolutionize the way the Air Force operates. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, AI can help with everything from predicting maintenance needs to automating routine tasks. For example, AI-powered systems could be used to analyze data from sensors on an F22 to identify potential mechanical issues before they become serious problems that require costly repairs. Additionally, AI can assist with mission planning, helping to optimize routes and determine the best tactics based on real-time data.


Drones are becoming an increasingly important part of the Air Force’s arsenal. These unmanned aircraft can be used for a wide range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, and even targeted strikes. One of the key advantages of drones is their ability to operate in dangerous or hard-to-reach areas without putting pilots at risk. With advances in drone technology, we can expect to see more sophisticated capabilities in the future, such as swarming drones that can coordinate with each other in real-time.


As our world becomes more connected, the threat of cyber attacks on military systems becomes more significant. The Air Force must stay vigilant against both internal and external threats, which can range from simple phishing scams to sophisticated state-sponsored attacks. To counter these threats, the Air Force is investing heavily in cybersecurity measures, including advanced encryption protocols and defensive software. Moreover, the Air Force is also exploring the potential of offensive cyber capabilities, which could disrupt or disable enemy networks in the event of a conflict.

In conclusion, these technological advancements are poised to play an increasingly important role in the future of the US Air Force. By leveraging AI, drones, and cybersecurity, the Air Force can stay ahead of its adversaries and maintain its position as the world’s most advanced military force.
The F22 Raptor has cemented itself as a cornerstone of the US Air Force’s arsenal, showcasing its advanced stealth technology, unparalleled speed, and state-of-the-art weaponry. From its development to its current operational status and future replacement plans, the F22 has been an integral part of the US military’s dominance in the skies. While there are debates on the retirement of the F22, with the Next Generation Air Dominance program poised to take its place, there is no denying that the F22 has made significant contributions to the US Air Force’s capabilities. As we look forward to the future of air warfare, it is essential to recognize the advancements made by the F22 and other fighter jets and their continued role in maintaining national security.

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