F-22 Raptor Aircraft Program – CRS Issue Brief for Congress

The F-22 Raptor is a next-generation fighter/attack aircraft using the latest stealth
technology to reduce detection by radar.
Equipped with more advanced engines and avionics than the current F-15 Eagle, the F-22
is expected to maintain U.S. Air Force capabil-
ities against more sophisticated aircraft and
missiles in the 21st century.
In 1986 two contractors were selected to
build competing prototypes: Lockheed’s
YF-22 and Northrop’s YF-23, which were
flight tested in late 1990. In April 1991, the
Air Force selected Lockheed’s YF-22 design
for full-scale development, now termed “Engi-
neering & Manufacturing Development” (EMD). The aircraft is powered by Pratt &
Whitney’s F119 engine, selected in competi-
tion with General Electric’s F120 engine. If
produced as now projected, F-22s could begin
replacing F-15s after 2005

The F-22 program raises questions about
its cost and the need for this aircraft, the
capabilities it would have, and the number of
these planes needed to meet military require-
ments. The F-22 has had strong congressional
support, although some have criticized the
program on grounds of cost, requirements, and
coordination with other tactical aircraft pro-
grams. Deletion of procurement funds in the
FY2000 defense appropriation bill passed by
the House made the future of the program a
major issue for House and Senate conferees in


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