Raptors and Spirits

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Aug 05 2006 11 mins   3
The future US Air Force's backbone consists of one fighter aircraft and one bomber: the F22 Raptor and the B2 Spirit.

F22 Raptor:
Set to replace the F117 Nighthawk and the F15 Eagle, this $350 million stealth fighter aircraft is the ultimate air superiority weapon. In addition to carrying a significant amount of air-to-air missiles (ex. AIM-120 and AIM-9), the F22 can travel at Mach 2.42 into enemy airspace without being detected. Also, its radar will allow it to see all enemies way before the enemies suspect anything. The radar also has the ability to jam an enemy aircraft's systems, while the computer can easily link up with an allied F22s computer. When it comes to precision ground strikes, the F22 relies on its JDAMs and SDBs.

B2 Spirit:
At $2 billion each, the B2 is worth more than twice its weight in solid gold. Though it is slow, it can go anywhere in the world with only one in-flight refueling. Its greatest feature, however, is its boomerang flying wing design which allows it to have a radar signature equivalent to that of a small bird. But just because it is stealthy does not mean that it cannot carry a huge payload. In fact, it can carry 80 "dumb bombs", 36 cluster bombs, 16 "smart bombs", and 16 nuclear bombs. Also, it can drop 16 different bombs at 16 different targets simultaneously.

For more information, read:
USAF Fast Facts by Trident Press International
How Stealth Works in the B2

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine