Military Review

With an eye on the sixties. F-22A Raptor fighter upgrades


Even the newest and most perfect aviation technology becomes obsolete, and it is only a matter of time. Thus, the most advanced US Air Force fighter, Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor, entered service in 2005 and by now it no longer fully complies with all current requirements. In the recent past, such aircraft have undergone an upgrade, and in the future they will face new upgrades.

Basic approaches

Already at the stage of development of the F-22A project, the need for future repairs and modernizations was taken into account with an extension of the service life and new opportunities. Basic approaches to updating equipment were formed that meet specific requirements.

Glider, propulsion system, general aircraft systems, etc. initially made the most perfect and suitable for operation for a long time without any significant modifications. Moreover, some changes to the airframe are virtually eliminated, as they can hit flight performance or stealth.

The main method of modernization in the near and medium term was made by updating the software of electronic equipment. In the future, the possibility of replacing individual blocks and devices with modern products with higher characteristics was not ruled out.

Some opportunities in the context of modernization were used already at the stage of mass production. The technique of various “blocks” (parties) was slightly different in the composition and software of electronics and, accordingly, in technical and combat capabilities. So, the last production fighters of 2011 were equipped with version 3.1 Increment equipment.

Current project

Last May, the US Air Force, Lockheed Martin, and subcontractors began upgrading to upgrade avionics to version Increment 3.2. Block 35 and 40 series aircraft can receive such an update. Representatives of other parties can also receive this update, but only after upgrading to Block 35/40.

Update "3.2" is divided into two main parts, sold separately. The 3.2A project provides for the modernization of devices and software for communication, control, recognition and electronic warfare systems. Increment 3.2B affects navigation equipment and controls weapons.

In the current configuration, the F-22A is equipped with a Link 16 type communication unit that provides only data reception. The Increment 3.2A project provides for its replacement with a modern Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Joint (MIDS-J) transceiver. The fighter will be able to use the existing Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) systems for communication.

Radar AN / APG-77. The station so far meets the requirements of the Air Force, but in the future it may need to be modernized or replaced

Accurate information about the identification devices and modernization of electronic warfare is not yet available. It is possible that in their case they will manage to do only software updates. The introduction of new encryption tools and measures to increase the stability of communications to interference have been announced. These tasks are also being addressed through new software.

As part of the 3.2B upgrade, the focus is on developing weapon control systems. After installing new devices and installing programs, the F-22A will be able to fully use the air-to-air missiles of the latest modifications AIM-9X and AIM-120D. It is curious that other US Air Force fighters, primarily the previous 4 generations, have “mastered” such weapons quite a long time ago and can fully use it.

The upgrade of the aiming and navigation complex with the integration of new missiles was planned to begin in 2013-14, however, real events were repeatedly postponed. Work on installing the "3.2" components only began in May 2019. Aircraft of the suitable series receive an update to Increment 3.2B, as well as software for communications.

With an eye on the sixties. F-22A Raptor fighter upgrades

Cargo compartment fighter F-22A. On the right is the AMRAAM air-to-air missile. With the "3.2B" update, the aircraft will be able to use the latest AIM-120D missiles

Measures and funds from the 3.2A project will be implemented in the near future. It was previously reported that MIDS-J and other systems will begin to install in 2020. It will take no more than a few years to carry out all the necessary work, and in the early twenties the entire fleet of compatible F-22A will receive the necessary updates.

Future work

It is curious that, despite improvements at the production stage and subsequent updates, the F-22A still does not have a part of the desired functions. In particular, the helmet-mounted target designation system, which simplifies combat in some conditions, is still not used. However, current plans provide for its introduction - in the foreseeable future.

In the year 2024 The Air Force plans to launch a new Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) mid-life upgrade program. This time it is supposed to significantly update avionics and software, as well as partially modify the airframe and general aircraft systems. To solve such problems, inter alia, solutions will be used that have been worked out during the experimental design, production and operation of newer F-35 fighters.

Perhaps the main innovation in the context of the airframe will be the replacement of the radar absorbing coating. Established materials developed for the F-22A proved to be overly complicated to operate and not justified. Such a coating is proposed to be replaced by a more successful one, borrowed from F-35. It is also possible to refine the internal compartments of the airframe, taking into account the installation of new devices.

Blocks LTC - the most noticeable element of the airborne defense complex. BKO must also be modernized

The issue of deep modernization of the airborne radar AN / APG-77 is being considered, which will increase the main combat characteristics. With a high degree of probability, the Air Force will order the installation of an optical-location station according to the EOTS system type for the F-35. The aiming and navigation complex can also receive other devices for viewing and navigation, as well as modern software. The MLU will also introduce the long-awaited helmet-mounted target designation system.

Missile Launch Detector plans to complement the on-board defense system AN / AAR-56 with new infrared sensors for detecting missile launches. It is possible to modernize other means of detecting enemy attacks already installed on the aircraft.

Distant future

The MLU modernization is supposed to be launched in 2024. It will take several years to carry out the work. During this time, the entire existing fleet of F-22A fighters — less than 200 units — can receive new instruments and programs. Thus, these 5th generation fighter aircraft will still be inferior in the number of vehicles of previous models, but will again ensure themselves a qualitative superiority.

One can already imagine how the F-22A fighters will change before the end of the decade based on the results of the current and planned updates. In general, we are talking about improvements in all areas and the advantages of both combat and operational nature.

The nose of the F-35 fighter. You can consider the skin with a special coating and a transparent fairing OLS EOTS (under the fuselage in front of the chassis niche)

Aircraft with Increment 3.2 and MLU will remain inconspicuous, but maintaining such capabilities and appropriate maintenance will be simplified. The fighter will be able to "see" further and better, both due to the radar, and with the help of other devices. Combat missions will be simplified by improved PRNK with fundamentally new (for F-22A) capabilities.

The oldest of the F-22A combat aircraft is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. The technology of the last parties has not served for 10 years. The US Air Force plans to keep such fighters in service until the sixties of the XXI century - they have to serve at least 40 more years. Over time, promising 22th generation fighters will join the current F-6A, which will then be able to displace them.

Based on such plans, current and future plans for development and modernization are determined. Some projects to upgrade equipment have already been completed, others are being prepared for implementation, and still others are a matter of the distant future.

Even at the development stage, the F-22A fighter began to be called the most advanced in the United States and around the world. Time passes, progress does not stand still, and measures must be taken to maintain such a status - not only advertising, but also technical. The development of the existing aircraft has become an almost continuous series of modernization programs, and this allows the customer in the person of the Air Force to maintain and improve its capabilities.
Photos used:
US Air Force, US Navy, Wikimedia Commons
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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins April 28 2020 06: 27 New
    I don’t even know which way to wave a saber from the sofa ...
    Apparently, the plane is not bad ... But the fact that there isn’t a lot of it ... So there are even less of our Su 57s!
    1. novel66
      novel66 April 28 2020 11: 19 New
      and something in one of the photos - forgot to close the gas tank flap? muddler ....
      1. sgapich
        sgapich April 28 2020 21: 39 New
        Quote: novel xnumx
        and something in one of the photos - forgot to close the gas tank flap? muddler ....

        If you mean the second photo, then a 20-mm M61A2 cannon with 480 rounds of ammunition is hidden behind this hatch. hi
        Application Video:
        1. novel66
          novel66 April 29 2020 09: 41 New
          thank you hi strange place - half-winged under the influence of powder gases and overpressure
    2. kris_67
      kris_67 24 June 2020 14: 54 New
      "And the fact that there is not much of it ..." - 144 is a lot
  2. Amateur
    Amateur April 28 2020 06: 34 New
    Generator of texts from English names and numbers replaced nickname?
  3. Range
    Range April 28 2020 06: 36 New
    How not to decorate the "flying frying pan", and its inconspicuousness is effective only for popuas. The string sees them at long distances, and at firing ranges of air-to-air missiles and onboard radars of our aircraft. It is not for nothing that they are so afraid of Turkey's use of the S-400, since their stealth will turn out to be fiction and will be exposed. I am not talking about the Fu-35 at all. Remember how our Su-35 in Syria crept up to the Fu-22 from behind and he saw him only visually, that the drying was on his tail, and immediately gave a drapak.
    1. Krasnodar
      Krasnodar April 28 2020 15: 10 New
      The Merikatos pilots, seeing a photo of the MiG-29, spoil the diapers, refusing to climb into their visible with the naked eye any fighter who has passed an NVP in a Soviet school and graduated from the military department of a Russian university, Fu - 35 (who underwent knee replacement, obese Penguin) and Fi-22 ( teflon frying pan Made in Wuhan, China). When Su pulled up behind Phi, the latter, yelling "I'm not like that", sent a digital resignation letter, landing on Santorini. There he met with a swimmer who had escaped by swimming to Istanbul after being exposed to Donald Cook's crew installed on the Su-24 Khabin. Together they muddied the little girl and continued to be homeless, like all veterans of the US Army, from time to time ending their lives with suicide. fellow
  4. Dmitry from Voronezh
    Dmitry from Voronezh April 28 2020 06: 56 New
    Well what can I say, the Americans are not "resting on their laurels", they are working, improving their technology. For us, it is now very important to refine the Su-57 and launch it into series production.
    1. Firelake
      Firelake April 28 2020 08: 47 New
      There will be no big series. I think 40-60 will stop
  5. rocket757
    rocket757 April 28 2020 09: 20 New
    In fact, they have it.
    And the rest is working moments.
  6. The comment was deleted.
  7. Private-K
    Private-K April 28 2020 10: 33 New
    For verbosity and epithets we have the following in the bottom line.
    The means of communication and control + software are subject to modernization / replacement.
    Also, extreme modifications of UR in-in AIM-9X and AIM-120D are installed.
    Some work on the radar and on the means of electronic warfare is possible, but not essential.
    At the same time, despite one and a half decades of operation, the unavailability of such an important, critical element as a helmet-mounted target designation system remains extremely unsolved. This fact dramatically reduces the excellent performance characteristics of the aircraft, lowering its combat potential.
    The muddy water on the optical-location station tells us that everything will remain as it was - the Reptor will not have OLS. Too deeply it is necessary to "fit" into the structure of the aircraft for its installation and integration.

    Now about the number. Otkel 200 aircraft? How much can this long-obsolete figure be repeated?
    WE DO !!!
    Frontline squadrons
    1st Fighter Wing, at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia
    27th Fighter Squadron [210]
    94th Fighter Squadron
    43rd Fighter Squadron (Training Unit)
    3rd Wing, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
    90th Fighter Squadron [212]
    525th Fighter Squadron
    154th Wing, at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii
    199th Fighter Squadron (Air National Guard unit)

    Test and Evaluation Squadrons
    57th Wing, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
    422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron [153]
    433rd Weapons Squadron [213]
    412th Test Wing, at Edwards Air Force Base, California
    411th Flight Test Squadron

    The U.S. Air Force has FIVE drill squadrons on the Reptors and ONE training.
    Also, the Reptors are on the equipment of several TEST squadrons of MIXED composition - that is, several cars.
    TOTAL: 6 * 18 = 108 combat aircraft and 15-20 non-combat aircraft. Result = +120 real ones.
    The rest are cannibalized.
    1. dzvero
      dzvero April 28 2020 11: 31 New
      EMNIP, a couple of years ago in Florida 20-25 cars received varying degrees of damage from a hurricane. Since then, silence about their fate.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh April 28 2020 20: 04 New
        They were returned to duty. All.
    2. V.I.P.
      V.I.P. April 28 2020 17: 12 New
      Hm. I recently read that F-22s will be equipped with helmets like the F-35. With all systems ......
    3. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh April 28 2020 20: 03 New
      5 combat squadrons of 22 aircraft. And 2 spares in each squadron.
      2 more squadrons disbanded to increase the number in
      of these existing valid until 22.
    4. Konstantin Pekhlivanov
      Konstantin Pekhlivanov 10 May 2020 22: 02 New
      95 FS (Tyndall base) you have disappeared. Unprincipled but still.
    5. Charik
      Charik 10 July 2020 19: 43 New
      broke another tough nut laughing
  8. iouris
    iouris April 28 2020 10: 38 New
    Everything is known in comparison: which aircraft technologically approached the F-22 to such an extent that it began to need modernization?
  9. Fedorov
    Fedorov April 28 2020 15: 05 New
    A good fighter for his age. But the expensive bastard, and whether the United States will cope with this task in the context of an epidemic, And so already Boeing closes factories, perhaps not even Lockheed. Oil "pumping has already limited in production. According to general data, in the US there are already 20 million, along with migrants and Mexicans - unemployed. Who will pay taxes on their development and production?"
  10. qobnvmog
    qobnvmog April 29 2020 01: 05 New
    What used to occupy the entire instrument compartment can now occupy no more than a smartphone on the sleeve of an overalls. What used to be experimental, or even theoretical, is now industry standards. What years of human resources used to take, now requires teraflops of a supercomputer.
    Those. a non-scalable quality task has become scalable quantitative.

    They will make it a new version and the plane will be better and cheaper. And they will do it faster than they did before.
  11. Maksim_ok
    Maksim_ok 1 May 2020 01: 18 New
    “Established materials developed for the F-22A proved to be overly complicated to operate and not justified. Such a coating is proposed to be replaced by a more successful one, borrowed from F-35. ”

    Of course, the materials on the 35th of a new generation. About the fact that the materials on the F-22 "did not justify themselves" is a free exaggeration of the author. Regarding the connection, then initially the F-22 for secrecy could exchange information only within the F-22 group itself. Now it was decided to introduce a secure communication channel with other fighters.
    1. DED_peer_DED
      DED_peer_DED 26 July 2020 12: 10 New
      Quote: Maksim_ok
      Now it has been decided to introduce a secure communication channel with other fighters.

      Data transmission channels. Radiation means +.