Why America never sold the F-22 raptor to foreign countries?
The F-22 Raptor is widely touted as the world’s most capable air superiority fighter jet. As a 5th generation stealth aircraft, the F-22 packs some incredible technologies in a highly maneuverable supersonic platform. But it is also a very strange aircraft in certain regards. Despite being the best in its role, the Pentagon decided to buy only 186 aircraft out of the intended 750. Furthermore, Congress shut the door to any prospective buyers, forbidding Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, from ever selling the aircraft abroad.
But how could an aircraft that is so good at its job get shut down so quickly into production? And why couldn’t the U.S. sell it to the many foreign buyers who were rushing to purchase it?
The F-22 Raptor: A great aircraft
Introduced in 2005, the F-22 Raptor was intended to replace the venerable F-15 Eagle as America’s next air superiority fighter jet that would last well into the 2040s.
As an air dominance, multi-role fighter, the F-22 was the first 5th generation stealth fighter jet to fly. It combines advanced technology, such as stealth, sensor fusion to produce superb situational awareness, and an airframe that is highly maneuverable and can supercruise, or fly at supersonic speeds without the use of afterburners. What makes the F-22 great in a dogfight is the aircraft’s thrust vectoring capabilities. Its two engines have specially designed nozzles at their ends that can move on a vertical plane to vector the aircraft’s 70,000 pounds of thrust in one direction even if the aircraft is heading in another, thus allowing the F-22 to do some impressive acrobatics, as well as leverage an extremely high angle of αttαck during a within-visual-range engagement (a dogfight).
The F-22 is quite versatile when it comes to the armament it can carry.
For a cσmbat air patrol, the Raptor can carry two AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles and six AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided missiles. For close air support or precision strike mission, the F-22 can carry two 1,000 pounds GBU-32 JDAMs or eight 250 pound Small Diameter ʙᴏᴍʙs , in addition to pairs of both AIM-9s and AIM-120s. In all of these loadouts, the aircraft’s M61A2 20-millimeter cannon with 480 rounds ensures a fearsome foe in dogfights.
Equally important, it can carry all the aforementioned munitions within its three internal weᴀponѕ bays, meaning that the aircraft doesn’t sacrifice any stealth to carry all that firepower. In comparison, America’s other stealth fighter jet, the F-35, can only carry only four weᴀponѕ in its two internal bays.