The F-22 Raptor is an air superiority fighter intended for airspace dominance. Photo: Flickr.

What Is The F-22 Raptor Used For?

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a highly advanced jet fighter. But what tasks can the F-22 Raptor perform? Find out here.

Tobias Holm
Tobias Holm

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While the F-22 Raptor is no longer being produced, the 187 operational aircraft that were built are still being used extensively in the United States Air Force, and it is likely to continue so in the near future. So, what is the F-22 Raptor used for? Well, let's take a look.

The Job of The F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor is an air superiority fighter.

Being an air superiority fighter means that the F-22 Raptor is intended to seize and maintain control of airspace. That involves establishing tactical dominance (air superiority) over an enemy air force. The primary tasks of air superiority fighters include aerial combat and neutralizing threats over airspace control. Mostly, the opponents of air superiority fighters are enemy fighter aircraft.

No matter the situation, the F-22 is capable of quickly gaining air superiority for US forces, and quickly ensuring that the enemy can't establish a presence in the given airspace.

The F-22 Raptor is designed with stealth technology that ensures that it is difficult to spot before it can eliminate any threats. In fact, the stealth tech behind the F-22 Raptor is so secretive that this aircraft can't even be sold to US allies just in case the tech leaks.

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is also capable of air-to-ground operations.

Multiple Configurations 

Whenever the F-22 Raptor is sent up into the air, it will be specifically configured for the job at hand. This will normally be air-to-air or air-to-ground combat. The Raptor's payload will vary based on whatever job is being tackled.

That is what makes the F-22 Raptor such a versatile fighter jet. It can be used to suit the needs of the US Military. There is no other aircraft quite like it, at least not on the projected fighter front.

What is the F-22 Raptor used for?
The F-22 is an air superiority fighter but can also do air-to-ground operations.

Air-to-Air Combat 

As mentioned, one of the primary objectives of the F-22 Raptor is to gain air superiority. This means that it needs to have the capability to quickly eliminate any aerial threat nearby. When the F-22 Raptor is equipped with an air-to-air kit, it will typically be loaded up with the following:

  • 6 x AIM-120 AMRAAMs
  • 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinders

That is an effective loadout in itself. In addition, the F-22 Raptor is loaded with a whole host of advanced sensors that will allow the pilot to quickly identify threats, often long before the F-22 Raptor has been spotted. This is a significant advantage over older fighter jet designs.

Air-to-Surface Combat 

The F-22 Raptor can also be used for air-to-ground combat. When the aircraft is configured for this, it will typically carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, although plans are underway to configure the jet to carry up to eight small-diameter bombs.

The F-22 benefits in air-to-ground missions from the same 'features' that allow it to gain air superiority. This means stealth, increased combat area awareness, advanced sensors, and the ability to evade threats thanks to the high speed.

Why The F-22 Raptor Over Other Jets?

Put simply; the F-22 Raptor is a jet that has unmatched speeds, range, stealth, and electronics. The Raptor can get in and out without being detected. It can cruise at a whopping Mach 1.82, (1,220 mph or 1,963 km/h), something which other projected fighter jets cannot do. The Raptor can go even faster, up to Mach 2.25, (1,500 mph or 2,414 km/h) with afterburners engaged.

The F-22 Raptor is mostly used for air-to-air missions
The high speed, stealth, and excellent maneuverability make the F-22 Raptor very effective in combat.

Not only this, but it has some of the best maneuverability capabilities of all fighter jets. With a skilled pilot at the helm (and the USAF is only ever going to put a skilled pilot at the helm), there is little chance that somebody will be able to take down an F-22 Raptor. This makes it excellent for dealing with aerial threats.


The F-22 Raptor is one of the most capable military jets in the world. It is used for both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. When it is used, it allows the US military to quickly gain control over airspace.

Its advanced stealth technology, high speed, sensor features, and incredible maneuverability makes the F-22 Raptor a unique aircraft. So unique that the United States law prohibits the export of the F-22 to protect its advanced technologies.

The F-22 Raptor is an aircraft that can complete missions that few other aircraft in the world can conduct.

Also read:

Military Aviation

Tobias Holm Twitter

Founder of Planenerd, based in Denmark. Got a LEGO plane as a kid. Obsessed with aviation since. None of my friends want to talk about airplanes.