The fighter, assigned to the Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, is pictured on the tarmac of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, where it deployed to take part in the Red Flag-Alaska 21-3 exercise. And even in this inactive state, the thing looks utterly deadly, exclusive, and rare.
When it started testing the Raptor back in 1997, Lockheed Martin had few ways of knowing it would end up making just 195 of them, test planes included. But that’s what happened in the end, after elements conspired to make the F-22 irrelevant in modern-day warfare.
Most of those planes are still in service, deployed solely with the American military, and will probably continue to serve for the next few decades, so plenty of chances of seeing this thing will continue to present themselves.
And a sight it is, the F-22. Built as a stealth tactical fighter, it comes with both a distinctive shape and incredible hardware. Two Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines are on deck to push the sleek machine through the air at speeds of Mach 2 (1,534 mph / 2,469 kph).
The unique canopy of the F-22 can be seen at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet (15 km), and it can fly for up to 1,841 miles (2,962 km) without the need to visit a refueling station.