How F/A-22 Raptors Work

The F/A-22 is an air-superiority fighter with improved capability over current Air Force aircraft.
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The first jet fighters appeared at the end of World War II. A few of them, equipped with machine guns, saw combat and quickly proved that jets were here to stay. During the Korean War, faster, more heavily armed fighters entered service, including the first supersonic air-to-air dog fighters and the first to carry only missiles as weapons.

Today, powerful fighter aircraft are basically flying computers that combine technology and stealth design to be invisible to enemy radar and attack their opponents without warning. We'll look at the newest fighter in the U.S. Air Force's aerial arsenal, the F/A-22 Raptor. The "F/A" designates the Raptor as a "fighter" and an "attack" aircraft. As we'll see, the F/A-22 incorporates the latest approaches to avoiding detection along with a mind-boggling array of weapons and technology to succeed at both missions.