The F-22 Raptor fighter jets, and especially the F-22 Super Raptors, were once the ace of the Air Force fleet. They were the best of the best, created to outdo their previous fighter jet, the F-15 Eagle, which had an “undefeated track record in air-to-air combat.” Eventually, however, the production of these fighter jets was put on hold and ultimately discontinued. Now, debates circulate on whether bringing them back is a worthy investment. However, the F-22 Raptor cost does not come cheap.
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Before Exploring the F-22 Raptor Cost, What Is the F-22 Raptor?
The F-22 Raptor is an American fighter jet built to move stealthily in the skies with the combination of “supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, which represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.”
The F-22 Raptor jet is capable of performing missions in air-to-air and air-to-ground, which allows for complete and total realization of Air Force operations that are vital to 21st-century military tactics.
According to the Air Force’s website, “The F-22, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation’s Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.”
The F-22 Raptor features a lot in its systems, including:
- “Sensor capability.
- Integrated avionics.
- Situational awareness.
- Weapons which provide first-kill opportunities against threats.”
Introduced in 1986, the F-22 Raptor fighter jet proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to combat. This would make you think that the answer to “Is F-22 still in production?” is an obvious yes, but the story is more complicated.
Since the 9/11 attacks and conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States decided that the F-22 Raptor would be unnecessary in missions, as we “didn’t need a fifth-generation F-22 to take down fifty-year-old Iraqi MiGs.”
This consequently caused the production of these elite fighter jets to completely halt and be discontinued.
How Much Does an F-22 Raptor Cost?
Many wonder, “How much does an F-22 Raptor cost?” and “Did the price play a part in discontinuing the fighter jet?” Let us tell you; they’re not cheap whatsoever.
As the government debates whether bringing back the production of these elite fighter jets is a worthy investment for them, they have to consider the cost of a F-22 Raptor and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of their production.
The F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were the best of the best at the time of their usage. The best of the best, however, translates to an expensive investment for the United States government.
A report submitted to Congress in 2017 stated that if the government restarted its F-22 production, it would cost the United States $50 billion for just 194 of the jets. With these figures, the F-22 Raptor price point would range between $206 and $216 million for only one jet.
For comparison, the F-25 fighter jet price is “around $80 million per airframe, and the F-15 EX’s per-unit price [is] approximately $88 million.”
The F-22 Raptor cost would be excessive compared to the current fighter jets that the Air Force has at their disposal. This means that putting them back into production is looking like a long shot.
How Many F-22 Raptors Does the U.S. Have?
As of now, the U.S. military has 186 F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets. Out of those 186, only around 130 of those are operational, and unfortunately, now the amount of “combat-ready F-22s is likely in the double digits.”
Despite Exorbitant Costs, the F-22 Raptor Leads By Example
As the government weighed their options, they ruled that it wouldn’t be a worthy investment to bring back the production of the F-22 Raptor jets right now, as the F-22 Raptor cost would be too much for the government.
As the number of operational F-22 Raptor jets steadily decreases, they will be remembered as one of the best fighter jets to grace the skies.
The age of technology forces ingenuity and data to combine together to create more efficient and deadly jets, even more so than the F-22 Raptor. We have moved on to a different age, and jets such as the F-35 are now in production.
The government is always trying to find cost-effective ways to produce high-quality jets, and the cost of a F-22 Raptor would simply be too much for them.
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