|FB-22 CGI image next to a real F-22|
|Primary user||U.S. Air Force|
|Developed from||F-22 Raptor|
The FB-22 (Sometimes called the Strike Raptor) is a proposed United States Air Force (USAF) bomber aircraft, derived from the F-22 Raptor and intended to replace the F-15E Strike Eagle. It would precede a next-generation strike aircraft entering service after 2037. Former Secretary of the Air Force James Roche is said to be one of its strongest proponents.
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, internally funded 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 Lockheed Martin 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 differs from the original F-22 design significantly. A lengthened fuselage provides greater fuel capacity for greater range, more than 1,600 miles, compared with the F-22's 600, and a much larger internal weapons bay, better suiting long range attack missions. The elongated delta wing and deletion of tailplanes coupled with a possible change to the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 or the new F135, which was developed from the F119 to power the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engines would allow for a higher top-speed, sacrificing some maneuverability for better bombing performance. 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 maneuverability of the F-22 fighter. . The initial design envisioned a plane that could carry 24 Small Diameter Bombs, which weigh only 250 pounds. Using Global Positioning System guidance, the small bomb would be as lethal as a 2,000-pound bomb. A regular F/A-22 would carry eight Small Diameter Bombs. An FB-22 would carry 30.
Although officially cancelled in the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review, the FB-22 will most likely be revived as an entrant to a new USAF proposal for a bomber with strategic capabilities (note that, especially with miniaturized munitions a strategic bomber no longer has to be of great size) 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.
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.
- 'The Raptor as Bomber' - Air Force Association magazine article
- FB-22 Fighter Bomber page on Aur-Attack.com
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