Lightning Meets Raptor for Rare Shot of Two Amazing Airplanes

F-35A Lightning II and F-22 Raptor 7 photos
Photo: USAF
F-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning II
The F-35 is one of the youngest military airplanes to roam the skies of the world. Introduced in service 2015, it is still so new in terms of aircraft lifespan that it is largely unused in combat conditions. In fact, it wasn’t until 2018 that the first one saw combat, when the Israeli Air Force conducted strikes in Syria.
The U.S. Air Force didn’t get to fight with its F-35A Lightning II variant until April 2019, when a pair of them conducted an airstrike at Wadi Ashai, Iraq, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

That means most of the people involved with the F-35 are still trying to wrap their heads around the thing. So much so that in 2019 the United States Operational Test Team (UOTT) was established to ensure "the interoperability of the three F-35 variants across the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and international partners.”

The main pic of this piece (click photo to enlarge) was taken at the end of June during a UOTT flight test alongside an F-22 Raptor. The goal of the joint flight was to “to test interoperability between the two aircraft platforms” as the team is working on making the flying weapons platform deadly for the enemy and reliable for friends.

The F-35, which is available in three variants, one for the Air Force, another for the Navy, and a third for the Marine Corps, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that can take it to speeds of Mach 1.6, while generating 43,000 lbf (190 kN) of thrust with the afterburner.

The F-22, already a ten-year veteran when the F-35 came into service, uses two engines made by the same Pratt & Whitney and develops 35,000 lbf of thrust. This one is exclusive to the Air Force.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.

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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