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“We Made F-22 Raptor Our Lunch” – German Air Force Typhoon Pilot

According to an article in Air Combat magazine in 2012, the image of the United States' air-dominance aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, was somewhat tarnished when it was "defeated" in a prestigious high-profile air exercise called "Red Flag" that took place that year in home-ground Alaska, USA.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The United States has spent a total of US$64 billion (RM256 billion) to develop its stealthy air-dominance aircraft called the F-22 “Raptor,” which conducted its maiden flight in 1997.

The F-22 Raptor aircraft was specifically designed as an “Air Dominance” aircraft to control airspace and defeat enemy fighter aircraft in any dogfight scenario, in addition to its capability for air-to-ground missions.

As of August 2022, the United States Air Force has a total of 183 F-22 Raptor aircraft.

However, according to an article in Air Combat magazine in 2012, the image of the United States’ air-dominance aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, was somewhat tarnished when it was “defeated” in a prestigious high-profile air exercise known as “Red Flag” that took place in home-ground Alaska, USA that year.

The exercise lasted for two weeks and involved various types of fighter aircraft from several countries.

F-22
F-22 Raptor

 

During this highly publicized exercise, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) sent eight Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft from the 74th Tactical Air Force Wing.

Both air-superiority fighter aircraft were introduced around the same time, with the Eurofighter Typhoon’s maiden flight occurring in 1994, and the F-22 Raptor’s in 1997.

The Eurofighter Typhoon, being three years older, can be considered the “older sibling.”

Both aircraft began operating with their respective air forces in the early 2000s.

As expected, the German Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon excelled in “Within Visual Range” (WVR) air combat, where the F-22 Raptor couldn’t fully utilize its advantages in terms of stealth, radar, and other sensors.

F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor.

 

If air combat simulations were conducted in “Beyond Visual Range” (BVR), the Eurofighter Typhoon of the German Air Force would likely have the upper hand against the American F-22 Raptor.

In BVR combat, the F-22 Raptor’s high-powered sensor fusion capability would allow it to detect the presence of the Eurofighter Typhoon much earlier than the Typhoon would detect its adversary.

This would provide the F-22 Raptor with an earlier opportunity to shoot down the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Additionally, the F-22 Raptor aircraft from the United States Air Force participating in the WVR air combat simulation during the Red Flag exercise were reported to carry external fuel tanks, which limited their agility and stealth.

Typically, fighter aircraft would jettison these external fuel tanks when they anticipate engaging in air combat.

Typhoon

On the other hand, the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft not only didn’t carry external fuel tanks like the F-22 Raptor but also lacked any weapon systems, further enhancing its agility in aerial combat.

In WVR air combat scenarios between the Typhoon and the F-22 Raptor, the Typhoon’s superior agility likely played a crucial role from the outset.

“There were two mornings when we (Typhoon aircraft) went up against them (F-22s) in one-on-one situations.

We shed all external fuel tanks to get the best angle of attack: the Typhoon was a ‘beast’ without any external fuel tanks,” said Major Marc Gruene, a Typhoon pilot from the German Air Force who participated in the exercise.

Speaking to Combat Aircraft magazine, he also mentioned that the Thrust Vector Control (TVC) of the F-22 Raptor was found to limit its capabilities when “fighting” against the Typhoon at close range.

Typhoon

“The key is to get close to the F-22 and stay there. They (F-22s) didn’t expect us to act aggressively,” he said.

Shortly after the Red Flag exercise in Alaska, the German Typhoon pilots attended the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in 2012, where they discussed their success in defeating the F-22 Raptor in the WVR air combat simulation.

Some of the Typhoon pilots were reported to have said, “We made ‘F-22’ our lunch.” – DSA

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