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F-22 redesignation reflects combat role

by Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker
Air Force Print News

09/17/02 - WASHINGTON -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper announced a change in the designation of the F-22 Raptor at the 2002 Air Force Association National Convention here Sept. 17. The change is meant to more accurately reflect the aircraft's multimission roles and capabilities in contemporary strategic environments.

"Secretary (of the Air Force Dr. James G.) Roche and I have decided to adopt the name F/A-22, using the A (or attack) prefix to emphasize the multiple roles and many dimensions of the Raptor," Jumper explained. "The Raptor will feed on prey both from the sky and from the (ground)."

Advances in technology and emerging Air Force doctrine make today's Raptor very different from the fighter envisioned when the program was first planned. Technological advancements in the fire control radar and integrated avionics, combined with the advent of smaller, very precise munitions, create a far more powerful air-to-ground strike system, Jumper said in a written statement.

"Indeed, the Raptor's most significant contributions over the next 30 years will be (in) its attack role, particularly against the most lethal next two generations of (enemy) surface-to-air missiles," Jumper said.

The F/A-22 will enable the Air Force's other stealth assets to operate 24 hours a day and will "sanitize the fly corridors" for airlift aircraft to resupply ground forces deployed in enemy territory, the general said.

Roche said in a written statement that the Raptor has been transformed, in line with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's priorities, to a multimission, joint system that will change the way the United States and its allies conduct war.

"Therefore, a redesignation will increase the focus on this transformation and allow people to better grasp this overall evolution," Roche said.

The F/A-22 has evolved into an air dominance aircraft capable of "kicking down the door" in anti-access situations, and the redesignation simply better reflects the inherent air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities of the Raptor, Roche said.

"Transformation is changing our thinking, but not necessarily throwing everything old away," Jumper said. "It's building on what we have but using it in very new ways."

The F/A-22 is a prime example of the Air Force's approach to transforming by combining air dominance, precision attack, networked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and joint close air support into an unprecedented single platform, he said.

"Its sensors will provide valuable information regarding precise target location and characteristics into a common network for all to use -- both air, land and sea," Jumper said. "In short, it will be its own intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform."

The F/A-22 will be the only system able to reliably engage cruise missiles and will be delivered to replace fighters that have been in active service longer than any fighter the Air Force has ever had in its inventory, Jumper said. He added that the F/A-22 will be able to deploy with a fraction of the logistics footprint and manpower required to sustain the service's current 25-year old platforms.

"(Secretary Roche and I) believe that the combination of these capabilities is transformational and that this transformational weapon should be called the F/A-22," Jumper said.

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