Definitions

FB-22

FB-22

The FB-22 (sometimes called the Strike Raptor) is a proposed United States Air Force bomber aircraft, derived from the F-22 Raptor and intended to replace the F-15E Strike Eagle. It would precede a next-generation 2037 Bomber.

Design and development

Background

In early 2002, Lockheed Martin began briefing the US Air Force on a modified bomber version of the F-22 Raptor fighter, featuring a delta wing, longer body and greater range and payload. This company-funded study of the FB-22, conducted during 2002, was an internally generated, proprietary study into the feasibility of making a derivative of the F-22. The FB-22 medium bomber is based on existing and planned capabilities of the F-22 fighter, a heritage that would limit development costs should the idea go into production. The medium bomber version of the F-22 would provide a relatively low cost and low risk approach for development of a high speed strike aircraft to carry a sufficient load to attack mobile targets. The FB-22 would act as a regional bomber, a role previously covered by the General Dynamics F-111.

The FB-22 differs from the original F-22 design significantly. A lengthened fuselage and larger delta wing provide greater fuel capacity for greater range, of some 1,600 miles, compared with the F-22's 600 miles. This also allows room for a larger internal weapons bay, better suiting long range attack missions and improved stealth. A possible change to the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 or the new F135 engines (developed for the new F-35) would allow for a higher top-speed. One early FB-22 concept featured no tailplanes. Unlike the similar-looking X-44 MANTA, the FB-22 would rely on wing control surfaces and would likely have fixed engine nozzles as opposed to the variable geometry ‘thrust vectoring’ nozzles which enhance the F-22's maneuverability. The initial design envisioned a plane that could carry 24 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB), which weigh only 250 pounds. This was later increased to 30 SDBs. Using Global Positioning System guidance, the small bomb could be as lethal as a 2,000-pound bomb. An F-22 would carry eight SDBs.

Related research is currently being undertaken to develop a stealth ordnance pod and hardpoints. This would allow the F-22, and any aircraft it spawns, to carry a far greater amount of ordnance than the internal bays alone, while still allowing the craft to maintain its stealth characteristics. These pods are intended to use stealth shaping, and carry ordnance internally. Opening to release the munitions, then discarding along with the hardpoints if the situation requires. Because of the work already done on the F-22, developing the FB-22 might cost about $5 billion to $7 billion – a fraction of the price for starting a bomber from scratch.

Interim bomber

The FB-22 is considered an entrant to a new USAF proposal for an interim bomber with strategic capabilities to become operational by 2018. In order to achieve such an ambitious EIS date, an aircraft based on an already proven platform (such as the FB-22) may be desired. The 2018 bomber will be an interim bomber to a future bomber to be fielded by 2037.

However, it appears the FB-22 has been canceled in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, in lieu of a long range bomber with a much greater range than the FB-22.

See also

References

External links

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