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Here’s Why The F-22 Raptor Can’t Be Exported

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The reason may be more obvious than you might expect.

The F-22 Raptor isn’t your typical stealth fighter. The aircraft was produced by Lockheed Martin and since its introduction, 16 years ago, it still remains a top military achievement. Although the U.S. Army has procured and exported very powerful weapons and vehicles in other armies throughout the world, Congress did not approve of the F-22 Raptor’s exportation.

What Makes The F-22 Raptor So Good

The F22-Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth tactical fighter aircraft that can operate in any type of weather. It was produced by Lockheed Martin. It’s worth noting that some of the main parts of the aircraft like the wings and the training systems were provided by Boeing.

It made its first flight almost 24 years ago on September 7, 1997 and was officially introduced in 2005. Since then, 195 Raptors have been built and currently, eight of them are in testing while the other 187 are fully operational and in service. While in development, the primary role of the F-22 was to operate as an air superiority fighter. Its modern technologies though provide it with much more capabilities, like ground attack and electronic warfare.

Although the F-22 hasn’t got into action yet, it is widely believed that it’s the most advanced and capable superiority fighter that’s ever existed. Since its introduction in the Air Force, it dominates in aerial exercises and has spread interested in other nations’ armies. During its first years serving in the army, a lot of problems occurred and a lot of research was needed. One example is that many pilots flying in the aircraft were observed to have a variety of common health issues. After several changes, mainly in the oxygen supply systems, the issues were eventually solved.

Lockheed proposed 3 other variants of the aircraft (except the YF-22A that was the pre-production prototype) but 2 of them were canceled. The F-22B and the naval F-22 variant (that was meant to be a carrier-based version of the aircraft) were both ultimately canceled in 1996 and 1991 correspondingly. Only the F-22A version operates today and there are no known plans for another new variant in the near future.

Why The U.S. Doesn’t Export The F-22 Raptor

The reason that the F-22 is not exported is because federal law bans any sale of aircraft outside of the U.S. This is in an attempt to secure and protect its technologies and features like the advanced stealth capabilities of US aircraft.

With that said, the Secretary Of Defense requested a report about the possible effects of exports in 2010. Till then a lot of countries like Japan and Australia showed interest in buying the aircraft but eventually picked the F-35 Lighting II.

The F-35 is a more flexible aircraft that can serve in a variety of different roles and costs significantly less than the Raptor. So, besides the ban, price and unavailability are also two reasons that never let the F-22 get out of American hands.

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