F-22 Raptor vs F-35 Lightning II – Which is better and why?

F-22 Raptor vs F-35 Lightning II : In the realm of advanced fighter aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II stand as two prominent pillars of modern military aviation. These fifth-generation fighters represent cutting-edge technology and capabilities, but they are designed for different roles and bring unique strengths to the battlefield. In this detailed comparison, we will delve into various aspects of these aircraft, including their design and development, stealth features, performance characteristics, weapons systems, avionics, roles in air operations, and their impact on modern warfare.

F-22 Raptor vs F-35 Lightning II Detail Comprission

Design and Development:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22 Raptor, developed by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation air superiority fighter. It was designed primarily for air-to-air combat, featuring advanced stealth capabilities and maneuverability. The program began in the 1980s, and the F-22 entered service in 2005.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35 Lightning II, also developed by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter. It was designed to excel in air-to-ground missions but is also capable of air-to-air combat. The F-35 program began in the 1990s, and it became operational in various versions from 2010 onwards.

Stealth and Low Observability:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22 is renowned for its high level of stealth and low observability. Its design incorporates advanced radar-absorbing materials and shapes that reduce its radar cross-section significantly. This makes it challenging for enemy radar systems to detect and track.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35 also features impressive stealth capabilities but at a slightly lower level compared to the F-22. Its stealth design, which includes internal weapons bays, reduces its radar signature, making it harder to detect than previous-generation aircraft.

Performance and Speed:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22 has a top speed of approximately Mach 2 (around 1,500 mph) and can cruise at supersonic speeds without using afterburners. It can reach altitudes of over 65,000 feet.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35’s top speed varies by variant, with a maximum speed of approximately Mach 1.6 (around 1,200 mph). It has a service ceiling of around 50,000 feet.

Weapons and Armament:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22 is primarily equipped with air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder. It can also carry precision-guided munitions (PGMs) for air-to-ground missions.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35 can carry a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and bombs, including the AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9X Sidewinder, and a variety of guided munitions like the GBU-12 Paveway II.

Avionics and Sensors:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22 features advanced avionics, including the AN/APG-77 AESA radar and highly capable sensors for situational awareness.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35 is equipped with cutting-edge avionics, including the AN/APG-81 AESA radar, Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for 360-degree situational awareness, and advanced electronic warfare systems.

Role in Air Operations:

  1. F-22 Raptor: The F-22’s primary role is air superiority, focused on gaining and maintaining control of the airspace. It excels in air-to-air combat scenarios.
  2. F-35 Lightning II: The F-35 is a multirole fighter designed for air-to-ground and air-to-air missions, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare, and close air support. It provides versatility for various operational scenarios.

Impact on Modern Warfare: Both the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II have had a significant impact on modern warfare by providing advanced capabilities to their respective countries and allied nations. They have played crucial roles in ensuring air superiority, protecting ground forces, and influencing the evolving landscape of military aviation.

Here’s a table comparing the key specifications of the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II:

Characteristic F-22 Raptor F-35 Lightning II
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin
Role Air superiority fighter Multirole fighter
First Flight 1997 2006
Introduction 2005 2015
Unit Cost (As of 2021) US$150 million (flyaway cost, as of 2009) US$89.2 million (F-35A)
US$115.5 million (F-35B)
US$108.8 million (F-35C)
Maximum Speed Mach 2.25 (1,500 mph, 2,410 km/h) Mach 1.6 (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h)
Range 1,600 nautical miles (2,900 km) with 1,200 nautical miles (2,220 km)
2 external tanks
Service Ceiling 65,000 feet (20,000 m) 50,000 feet (15,000 m)
Engines 2 × Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans 1 × Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan
(F-35A and F-35C)
1 × Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 turbofan
(F-35B, Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing)
Thrust 35,000 lbf (156 kN) each 43,000 lbf (191 kN) (F-35A)
40,000 lbf (178 kN) (F-35B)
43,000 lbf (191 kN) (F-35C)
Armament 1 × 20 mm M61A2 Vulcan Gatling gun Internal and external hardpoints for
missiles, bombs, and other munitions
(F-35A: 4 internal, F-35B/C: 2 internal)
Air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance
(AIM-120, AIM-9X, GBU-12, GBU-31, etc.)
Crew 1 1
Length 62 feet 1 inch (18.92 m) 51 feet 4 inches (15.67 m)
Wingspan 44 feet 6 inches (13.56 m) 35 feet 0 inches (10.7 m)
Height 16 feet 8 inches (5.08 m) 14 feet 8 inches (4.42 m)

This table provides a comprehensive overview of the specifications of the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, highlighting their differences and capabilities.

Size Comparison Of F-22 and F-35

Here’s a size comparison table with additional details for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II:

Characteristic F-22 Raptor F-35 Lightning II
Length 18.9 meters (62.0 feet) 15.6 meters (50.0 feet)
Height 5.08 meters (16.8 feet) 4.33 meters (14.2 feet)
Wingspan 13.6 meters (45.0 feet) 10.7 meters (35.0 feet)
Wing Area 78.0 square meters (840 sq ft) 42.0 square meters (460 sq ft)
Power 2 x 153 kN (35,000 lbf) 1 x 190 kN (43,000 lbf)
Weight 19,700 kg (43,500 lb) 13,200 kg (30,200 lb)

This table provides a more comprehensive size and performance comparison between the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, including additional details like wing area, power, and weight.

F-22 and F-35 Dogfight Rating

Here’s a table comparing the cannon, maneuverability, rate of fire, size point, thrust/weight ratio, and air-to-air missiles (AAM) of the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II:

Characteristic F-22 Raptor F-35 Lightning II
Cannon GAU-22/A GAU-22/A
Caliber (mm) 20 mm 20 mm
Muzzle Velocity 1,000 m/s 1,000 m/s
Maneuverability 9.4 8.5
Rate of Fire (rpm) 4,200 rpm 4,200 rpm
Size Point 10%-30% 20% 20%
Thrust/Weight Ratio 1.26 1.07
AAM (first) AIM-9X AIM-9X
Operational Range (AAM) 0.2 – 50 km 0.2 – 50 km
AAM (second) AIM-9X IRIS-T
Operational Range (AAM) 0.2 – 50 km 0.5 – 30 km
Dogfight Rating 86% 70%

This table provides a comparison of various performance characteristics related to dogfighting between the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

Similarity Between F-22 vs F-35

While the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II are distinct aircraft designed for different roles, they share several similarities:

  1. Manufacturer: Both aircraft are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, a leading American aerospace company.
  2. Stealth Technology: Both the F-22 and F-35 incorporate advanced stealth technology to reduce their radar cross-sections, making them difficult to detect by enemy radar systems.
  3. Crew: Both aircraft are designed for single-seat operation, although there are variants of the F-35 that can accommodate two crew members.
  4. Multirole Capability: While the F-22 primarily serves as an air superiority fighter, the F-35 is a multirole fighter, capable of air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. This multirole capability is a similarity they share, albeit with different emphases.
  5. Advanced Avionics: Both aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art avionics systems, including advanced radar, sensor fusion capabilities, and electronic warfare systems.
  6. Modern Design: Both the F-22 and F-35 feature modern design elements, including delta wings, advanced composite materials, and cutting-edge aerodynamics.
  7. Internal Weapons Bays: Both aircraft have internal weapons bays, allowing them to carry munitions internally to maintain a low radar profile when required.
  8. Advanced Engines: They are powered by advanced Pratt & Whitney engines. The F-22 uses Pratt & Whitney F119 turbofans, while the F-35 employs the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine.
  9. Supercruise: Both aircraft have the capability for supersonic cruise without the need for afterburners, enhancing their operational efficiency.
  10. Networking: Both aircraft are designed to be part of a network-centric warfare environment, sharing information with other friendly assets in real-time.

While these aircraft share several similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of mission focus, size, cost, and other specifications due to their different intended roles within the U.S. military and allied forces.


The F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, while originating from the same manufacturer, serve distinct roles and have different strengths. The F-22 excels in air dominance, while the F-35 offers versatility and multirole capabilities. Both aircraft represent the epitome of fifth-generation fighter technology and contribute significantly to the security of their nations and allies in the ever-changing arena of modern warfare.

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