The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor entered service in 2005, and production ended in late 2011. Despite the appearance of many new designs in the interim, an argument can still be made for the Raptor as the most advanced fighter aircraft on active duty today.
The F-22 program cost the US government more than $60 billion; the aircraft generated great hype and scrutiny from the press. Despite this high public profile, under 200 examples were built and some of its systems remain classified. The plane is strictly prohibited from export to allied powers.
The F-22 has seen combat in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan and even shot down the infamous "Chinese spy balloon" off the coast of South Carolina in February 2023.
This work provides a concise pictorial history of the aircraft, from its design and development to its adoption, combat duty, and even use as a exhibition aircraft with the Raptor demo team. Included are many original, previously unpublished photographs from the author's collection.