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Strength in Numbers: How US F-22 Raptor Could Be Defeated

© REUTERS / Master Sgt. Kevin J. GruenwaldTwo US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters fly near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. File photo
Two US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters fly near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. File photo - Sputnik International
America’s small fleet of F-22s and few advanced F-15C ‘Golden Eagles’ could be overcome by technologies such as China’s Chengdu J-10.

The Chinese—like the Russians—have challenging electronic attack capabilities including DRFM jammers, making it difficult for US aircraft to continue to attack once their missiles run out, the American magazine The National Interest wrote.

A T-50 airplane during demo flights at the Russian stage of the Aviadarts-2015 Flight Skills Competition in Voronezh - Sputnik International
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According to the publication, the only chance China’s J-10 stands against the Raptor is by outnumbering the US military’s aircraft.

While China can afford to lose dozens of cheap J-10s, the US only has 143 operational Raptors. “It’s a strategy that worked for the Soviet Union during the Second World War; it could certainly work for China.”

The F-35 has been upgraded but the funds to keep the Raptor at the top of its game have been short changed. The Raptor won’t have full integration with the latest air-to-air missiles like the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120D AMRAAM until late in 2017.

Although the Raptor has great air superiority over other fighters, there are not enough Raptors and they don’t carry enough missiles.

“We—the US (Department of Defense) hasn’t been pursuing appropriate methods to counter EA (electronic attack) for years,” a senior Air Force official told The National Interest. “So, while we are stealthy, we will have a hard time working our way through the EA to target (an enemy aircraft such as a Russian-built Sukhoi) Su-35s and our missiles will have a hard time killing them.”

Another Raptor pilot said, “While exact Pk [probability of kill] numbers are classified, let’s just say that I won’t be killing these guys one for one,” The National Interest reported.

The US Air Force has only 186 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters. Of those 186 remaining Raptors, only 123 are ‘combat-coded’ aircraft with twenty that are classified as standby aircraft inventory machines. The rest are test and training assets.

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