It Takes a Lot of Time to Get an F-22 Raptor Ready for Flight, Here’s How They Do It

The F-22 Raptor might be considered something of a flop. Introduced in 2005 as one of the most advanced military airplanes ever made, it was supposed to keep America’s enemy’s at bay through a combination of high-tech hardware and weaponry the likes of which the world had never seen.
F-22 Raptor 6 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
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Sadly for the plane, America’s enemies were not so keen on fighting wars the good old-fashioned way, with national armies involved, so the Raptor soon became a plane without a purpose. It was also incredibly expensive to make, its export to allied nations was banned, and that eventually spelled doom for the machine.

As fate would have it, the company behind the Raptor, Lockheed Martin, ended up making exactly 195 of them, 186 operational planes, and 9 for testing purposes. The American military is the only one fielding them, and it plans to keep doing so at least until the 2040s.

Despite the problems it faced over the years, the F-22 is an incredible machine. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines, it is capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2 (1,534 mph/2,469 kph), and can fly at altitudes of over 50,000 feet (15 km). It can also fly for up to 1,841 miles (2,962 km) without the need for refueling.

With an estimated cost of $334 million, including research and development, the Raptor is a valuable toy to have around. For that reason, and because pilots needs to be safe while operating them, a lot of prep work is performed before every of the Raptors’ outings.

Exactly how much prep work can be seen in the video below. It was shot by two airmen at an undisclosed military base and published at the end of August by Military in Action, and it shows the plane’s preflight checks, but also the moment it takes off.

You can enjoy the 10-minute clip below, but beware, there’s more than a single Raptor in there.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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