For today, we chose the latter, thanks to a recent photo of one released by the USAF at the end of last week. It shows one of these winged Raptors taking off from the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, one of the (still) wildest places on our planet.
This particular airplane, looking like an unforgiving beast as it climbs abruptly into the relatively clear Alaskan sky, is deployed with the 3rd Wing stationed there.
Whereas its dinosaur namesake has long been extinct, the flying Raptor is still around, although no other new ones are being born into the world. As one of the shortest-lived military aircraft in terms of production (it was only assembled for fifteen years), the F-22 only got made in under 200 units.
Most of them are still in service, fielded only by the American military, and will probably be around for a number of more years. That’s because it is a fifth-generation aircraft we’re talking about, and those are so new only three other models exist in the world: the F-35, the Sukhoi Su-57, and the Chengdu J-20.