Raptor F22 Top Speed: Everything You Need to Know

April 16, 2024

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a marvel of modern aviation. This fifth-generation fighter jet is not only incredibly stealthy and manoeuvrable, but the Raptor F22’s top speed is also truly awe-inspiring. But just how fast is the F-22 Raptor? 

Buckle up, aviation enthusiasts, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the exhilarating world of the Raptor’s supersonic performance.

Mach Matters: Unveiling the F-22’s Raptor Top Speed

Here’s the key stat you’ve been waiting for: the Raptor F-22’s top speed goes over a staggering Mach 2.0 with afterburners engaged. That translates to a mind-blowing 2,414 kilometres per hour (1,500 mph). To put that into perspective, the speed of sound is roughly Mach 1.0, meaning the F-22 can cruise at more than twice the speed of sound!

It’s important to note that this incredible speed comes at a cost. Afterburners are essentially like hitting the gas pedal in a car – they inject extra fuel into the engine for a significant thrust boost. This is fantastic for short bursts of extreme speed, but it’s also incredibly fuel-intensive.

Supercruise: The F-22’s Secret Weapon

But here’s where the F-22 truly shines. This fighter jet boasts an exceptional capability known as supercruise. This means the F-22 can sustain supersonic speeds (around Mach 1.5) without using afterburners. This offers a significant advantage in several ways:

  • Fuel efficiency: Supercruise allows for extended supersonic flight without guzzling excessive fuel, giving the F-22 greater operational range and endurance.
  • Stealth advantage: Afterburners generate a significant heat signature, which can compromise the F-22’s stealth capabilities. Supercruise allows for maintaining high speeds while staying relatively stealthy.
  • Tactical surprise: The ability to cruise supersonically without warning gives the F-22 a tactical edge, allowing it to intercept enemy aircraft or engage in combat situations quickly and efficiently.

Beyond Speed: Exploring the F-22’s Other Capabilities

While the Raptor F-22’s top speed is undoubtedly impressive, it’s just one facet of this remarkable aircraft. Let’s delve into some other key aspects of the Raptor’s performance:

How High Can an F-22 Fly? (F22 Raptor Max Altitude)

The F-22 has a phenomenal operational ceiling of over 50,000 feet (15 km up, approx). This allows it to soar above most threats and commercial air traffic, giving it a significant tactical advantage. The high altitude also offers benefits such as:

  • Improved sensor performance: The thin air at high altitudes provides a clearer view of the F-22’s advanced radar and sensor systems.
  • Increased manoeuvrability: The thinner air reduces drag, allowing for more agile manoeuvres at high speeds.

How Much Fuel Does an F-22 Raptor Use?

As mentioned earlier, the F-22’s fuel consumption varies depending on its flight mode. While supercruise offers greater fuel efficiency than afterburner use, it’s still a thirsty aircraft. The exact fuel capacity of the F-22 is classified information. However, estimates suggest it can carry around 8,165 kg (18,000 lbs) of internal fuel, with the option for additional external fuel tanks for extended missions.

How Much Does an F-22 Raptor Cost?

The F-22 is a complex and powerful piece of military technology, and its price tag reflects that. The estimated unit cost of an F-22 is around $350 million, making it one of the most expensive fighter jets ever built. This high cost is a factor in why production of the F-22 was halted in 2011.

The F-22 Raptor: A Symbol of American Air Power

The F-22 Raptor is a testament to American engineering prowess. Its combination of unparalleled speed, stealth, manoeuvrability, and high-altitude performance makes it a dominant force in the skies. While its future remains to be seen, the F-22 Raptor undoubtedly holds a place of honour in the history of aviation.

Maj. Joshua Gunderson, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs during the Orlando Air and Space Show at the Orlando Sanford International Airport, Fla., Oct. 30, 2022. The F-22A is a fifth-generation fighter incorporating fourth-generation technology, heightened maneuvering capabilities, the ability to fly at supersonic speed without afterburners and enhanced pilot situational awareness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Hastings)