F-22 Fighter Jet Flies First Combat Mission

Two F-22 Raptors from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly in formation. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Meneguin)

Was the F-22 fighter jet another example of wasteful spending? That was the question many had about the F-22 Raptor. The much-maligned Air Force fighter jet finally flew in its first combat mission during airstrikes in Syria.

How did it perform? Were the planes able to overcome their past safety issues? Did the F-22 fighter jet live up to its reputation as too dangerous to fly? From all that we have read, the warplane made quite a comeback and proved many wrong.

F-22 Fighter Jet Price Tag and Past

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Raptor is the most expensive fighter jet ever. The final cost of each F-22 was $412 million.

Once these planes entered service, the Air Force started seeing numerous maintenance and safety issues. Perhaps the most troubling was an issue with a lack of oxygen delivery to pilots. This issue was attributed to an Air Force pilot’s death in 2010.

Along with safety issues grounding the F-22, the Pentagon did not want to use the warplane against low-tech enemies. Therefore our Raptors sat in hangars during the war in Iraq and during bombing missions in Afghanistan.

Let’s see, build an overly-expensive, super-advanced fighter jet and leave it parked during combat missions. Makes perfect sense, right?

F-22 Raptor Too Good for Own Good?

The F-22 fighter jet features numerous highly-advanced features. It can hit supersonic speeds exceeding Mach 1.8 without using afterburners. The stealth Raptor is virtually invisible to enemy radar and fighter jets. Once it reaches its target, it can drop two 1,000-pound or eight 250-pound satellite guided weapons.

The combat ability of the fighter jet is unquestioned. However, the problem with all the highly-advanced features of the F-22 is that those features are expensive and hard to maintain.

F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet During ISIS Airstrikes in Syria

From all accounts, the $412 million planes’ first combat mission was a success. The F-22 dropped GPS-guided bombs on various targets in coordinated strikes with other fighter jets and bombers. While the jury on its long-range viability is still out, it looks like the F-22 fighter jet may continue to participate in strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria.

What do you think? Is it time we stop calling the F-22 fighter jet a waste of money?

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