This Is How You Park $143 Million's Worth of Fighter Jet Down Under

By their nature, military aircraft are not cheap. That’s because a lot of time, effort, research, development and work goes into making one just right, and all of that costs money. That’s why almost always those involved try not to mess up, and for the most part, they succeed.
F-22 Raptor during post-flight inspection in Australia 18 photos
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Mysti Bicoy
F-22 Raptor during post-flight inspection in AustraliaF-22 Raptor flying over Poland during NATO Air Shielding missionF-22 Raptors during wall of fire demo in HawaiiF-22 Raptor climbing during air show in CanadaF-22 Raptor shows vulnerable underside with no fearF-22 Raptor over Alaska base during exerciseF-22 Raptor and the American flagF-22 Raptor taking off from Alaska baseF-22 Raptor taking off from HawaiiF-22 Raptor taking offF-22 Raptor over Nellis Air Force BaseF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 Raptor
There are some instances though when elements conspire to make a military aircraft kind of obsolete before it gets out there in the originally planned numbers. That’s the case with the F-22 Raptor, a machine born out of America’s need to be able to fight near-peer adversaries.

The estimated cost of an F-22, R&D included, is of about $350 million. Of that, the price of a single functional unit is of $143 million according to the USAF itself, making the plane the most expensive of its kind currently in operation.

The main problem with the F-22 was that it arrived at the wrong time (it started being made in 1996), when America was beginning to no longer face state enemies, but was about to get knee-deep in the war against terror. The Raptor was, if you like, overqualified for the job, and given its high price, a decision was made to stop making it in 2011.

During the time assembly lines rolled, 183 of them were made, and deployed solely in the service of American forces. Some crashed, more were damaged during various storms that hit the U.S. and in other incidents, but the majority are still flying, doing the rounds in the hottest areas of the world.

And given their cost and mission, are very well taken care of, as demonstrated by this recent pic of one recently released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). It shows an F-22 deployed with the Hawaiian Raptor Expeditionary Squadron out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

The plane is seen here under the cover of an open hangar at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in Australia, during a post-flight inspection which took place back in September, and goes straight into our Photo of the Day coverage.
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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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