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  • It is a war plane light years ahead in its design.

  • A supersonic killing machine built to become the stealth fighter of the 21st century,

  • packing a deadly array of state of the art missile systems.

  • It excels at both close-in dog fighting and precision strike ground attacks.

  • Invisible to enemy RADAR, it can intercept and strike any target without warning.

  • America's newest super weapon,

  • the F-22 Raptor next on Modern Marvels.

  • 1981, in his first press conference as president of the United States.

  • Ronald Wilson Reagan offered a deal to the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

  • If Soviet's SS-20 missiles aimed at Western Europe were removed,

  • America would not deploy its Pershing II cruise missiles to counter the threat.

  • Throughout the 1960's and 70's, the Soviets developed

  • different missiles to attack in different altitude bags.

  • You couldn't fly under the missile threat.

  • You couldn't fly over the missile threat.

  • You had to deal with the missile threat.

  • One way to do that is to make suppression of enemy air defenses,

  • that is, destroying the missile sites and the radars, the most important mission for the air force.

  • By the 1970's, air dominance had re-emerged as a top priority.

  • And the US Air Force is committed to building its first pure air superiority fighter.

  • An aircraft that would eventually become the F-15 Eagle.

  • But just as F-15s became operational in 1978,

  • alarming new evidence suggested that the new fighter's superiority might only be temporary.

  • US reconnaissance satellites passing over a Soviet flight test center north of Moscow

  • discovered new Soviet fighters being tested.

  • One was the agile fighter, the Mikoyan MiG-29.

  • But the other king(?) as a huge shock to western analysts,

  • it was bigger than the F-15 and far bigger than any previous Soviet-built fighter,

  • the Sukhoi T-10 prototype.

  • At that time, the Soviet Union initiated

  • some very aggressive programs to come up with counters

  • and both Mikoyan and Sukhoi, both of design bureaus, initiated new aircraft development efforts.

  • And it appeared that they were (?)attractive with(?) field some very advanced fighters.

  • If the MiG-29 had concerned the American military establishment,

  • the existence of the Sukhoi T-10 set alarm bells ringing.

  • These are very good aircraft,

  • they're aircraft that play in the same league

  • as some of the top NATO aircraft like Phantom, and ultimately like F-15.

  • The goal is world peace ...

  • Just weeks into his first term, America's 40th president

  • increased US defense spending by 32.5 billion dollars,

  • and began the re-armament of the United States on a colossal scale.

  • In 1981, the Cold War was getting very warm.

  • As Reagan ingression(?) and squared off,

  • the US Air Force concluded that it urgently needed the replacement for its F-15,

  • an advanced tactical fighter, or ATF, that would have no equal.

  • As American planners started to develop a concept of air and land battle to fight WWIII,

  • the US Air Force starts to think about the kind of a equipment it wants to have

  • when it comes time to fight a war.

  • At that time, in the secret of black world, the advanced military aviation development,

  • one technology had emerged at the forefront,

  • stealth.

  • During that period, the late 1970's of course,

  • and what we call the black world, the alias in the world of secret programs,

  • there was a great effort going on to come up with counters to these new Soviet weapon systems

  • that could enable us to knock out their SAM system

  • and that of course uh... led to the development of the F-117.

  • Analysis of air to air combat in Vietnam, called the Red Baron study,

  • had kicked start the race for stealth

  • An operational analysis study showed that in Vietnam

  • that most aircraft were killed by other aircraft that they hadn't seen.

  • So from this you get the idea that if the aircraft doesn't see it, it has a tremendous advantage.

  • Air combat data from WWII and Korea reinforced it's need for invisibility.

  • So from this, in a process of operational analysis, the US Air Force learns

  • that what you really need to do is be invisible to the enemy.

  • And that means that

  • an aircraft is designed to be as near as possible invisible to an enemy fighter aircraft.

  • Its geometry is designed to give it a very low profile as to make it very invisible

  • to an oncoming fighter aircraft using high-frequency fighter aircraft RADAR.

  • The principle of stealth technology is to literally make an airplane invisible to the enemy.

  • An aircraft's shape must reflect incoming radio waves

  • away from the enemy radar rather than towards it

  • To further obscure the war plane's visibility,

  • an aircraft is being covered in materials that absorb radar signals

  • In turn, this reduces its visibility on a radar screen.

  • Leading the way in stealth technology was Lockheed Martin's Skunk works.

  • In the late 1970's, the stealth wasn't widely known outside of a few companies.

  • in the ability to integrate stealth technology, shaping for stealth and materials.

  • It was really only well known in 2 companies that was Lockheed and Northrop.

  • In 1977, amid unprecedented security,

  • Lockheed flew a prototype of the world's first stealth fighter.

  • And by the 1980's, during Operation Just Cause,

  • its F-117 helped to destroy general Noriega's regime in Panama.

  • Now the US Air Force decided that any new fighter must incorporate stealth technology

  • and identified 2 other areas in which a future air superiority fighter should excel.

  • Well, at that stage of the game, it was clear

  • that the Air Force wanted the stealthy fighter.

  • It was also clear that they wanted uh...an airplane

  • that was super cruise, in other words,

  • supersonicly without lighting off the after burners,

  • and they didn't want to sacrifice any of the classic fighter maneuverability

  • So they want the fighter that, besides all the new technology,

  • would maneuver as well or better than the F-15.

  • In October 1982, representatives from aircraft manufacturers met with the US Air Force,

  • and began to identify the specific must-haves for the new fighter.

  • It must be a supersonic cruise aircraft with a combat radius of 7 to 900 miles

  • with reduced observables if possible.

  • The aircraft would have to be able to operate on a 2,000-foot runway,

  • and must be easier to maintain than a F-15.

  • The challenge was issued.

  • Now it was up to the finest aviation manufacturers in the world to respond.

  • The Advanced Tactical Fighter Program was about to begin,

  • and the Raptor, America's fifth-generation fighter, was about to be hatched.

  • The F/A-22 Raptor is so stealthy, it appears the size of a bumblebee when detected by radar,

  • even though it's more than 62 feet long with a wingspan of 44 feet.

  • By 1983, U.S.-Soviet relations had reached a new low.

  • Following Leonid Brezhnev's death, the politburo, now controlled by ex-KGB boss Yuri Andropov,

  • was labeled by Reagan as the focus of evil in the modern world.

  • Continuing his policy of rearmament,

  • Reagan announced plans for the Strategic Defense Initiative,

  • better known as Star Wars.

  • Moscow reacted furiously.

  • [speaking Russian]

  • That August, when Korean Airlines flight 007, on its way to Seoul from New York,

  • strayed several hundred mile off course into Soviet airspace, Russia acted.

  • A fighter was sent up, and the civilian airliner with 269 people on board was shot down.

  • The shooting down of KAL 007 sent shock waves around the world,

  • straining international relations almost to a breaking point.

  • What can we think of a regime that so broadly trumpets its vision of peace

  • and global disarmament and yet so callously and quickly

  • commits a terrorist act to sacrifice the lives of innocent human beings?

  • Reagan's reaction to the crisis strengthened U.S. conviction that stealth

  • would now be the prime requirement for America's new fighter.

  • Some senior people in the Pentagon looked at the stealth requirements

  • and decided they were inadequate, and they radically changed them.

  • So stealth became a really major, dominant requirement in the program.

  • In this politically charged climate, the U.S. Air Force created its Advanced Tactical Fighter,

  • or ATF, System Program Office.

  • Based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,

  • Colonel Albert C. Piccirillo was placed in charge of the division.

  • One of the things we really wanted was the ability to leverage stealth in a high-performance fighter,

  • and we also wanted this high-performance fighter to still be capable of good close-in,

  • within visual range, maneuvering capability.

  • In fact, we wanted more than just existing capability in some areas.

  • Manufacturers were invited to submit concepts for an aircraft

  • with an operational radius of 800 miles,

  • enough to allow it to operate over the entire central region of Europe

  • from bases in central England

  • It should have low observable characteristics

  • and be able to cruise at Mach 1.5 for an astonishing 600 miles.

  • We weren't building an airplane for the 1990s, although that was what we were trying to do.

  • We were really building a fighter for the 21st century

  • that could take on all of the advanced threats that the Soviet Union was likely to throw at us.

  • All of the teams had their work cut out for them,

  • but on top of this, the military added another complicating factor.

  • At the end of the concept demonstration phase,

  • the decision was made by the Air Force to launch a demonstration validation

  • phase of the program that would involve building two flight demonstrators,

  • YF-type airplanes, that would then be evaluated.

  • They didn't have to have full armament.

  • They didn't have to have avionics.

  • They didn't have to have stealth coatings.

  • But essentially, they were going to go out and show us what you can do.

  • But building prototype aircraft was expensive, and no one manufacturer could afford it on their own.

  • They all know that they must invest so much money in developing

  • that if they don't get the contract,

  • they're going to be so out-of-pocket. It's going to hurt the company badly.

  • Each manufacturer would submit a design for the demonstration valuation,

  • or Dem/Val, competition

  • but agreed that the winning company would be the prime contractor

  • and its partners subcontracted to produce major components.

  • Everybody's investment will be at least partly repaid

  • because everybody gets a piece of the action.

  • Seven designs for the air force competition were submitted for final evaluation.

  • All of the seven contractors came in with designs

  • that were very feasible and that could have been built.

  • The question was which were the best

  • and then how did we determine that they really were good enough.

  • Two manufacturers with strong experience in stealth technology,

  • Northrop Grumman with its B-2

  • and Lockheed Martin with its F-117, led the way.,

  • Northrop's advanced tactical fighter, or ATF, design

  • was for an alien-looking aircraft with diamond platform wings and huge V-tails.

  • It was a design that stressed speed and stealth.

  • Northrop came in with an airplane that really, from the very beginning,

  • looked just like the YF-23 that eventually was built and flown.

  • Lockheed's entry echoed that of the F-117.

  • Its vectored thrust, arrowhead shape, trapezoidal wings,

  • and four tails ensured that the aircraft would be maneuverable.

  • The fact was that Lockheed and Northrop had significant advantages

  • in the fact that they had built stealth aircraft and flown them.

  • It's a big credibility factor there.

  • On October 31, 1986, both Lockheed and Northrop's ATF designs were declared the winners.

  • Under the terms of the Dem/Val competition, each team would build two aircraft.

  • At the end of the process,

  • one of two designs would become America's new advanced tactical fighter.

  • Costing billions of dollars,

  • the new fighter would make a technological leap into the 21st century

  • The F/A-22's RADAR system gives the aircraft a 'first-look, first-shot, first-kill' capability.

  • That means it can see an enemy plane first, fire a missile and destroy the target

  • without the other pilot ever knowing.

  • And in 1990, just months after the disintegration of the Soviet Union,

  • the shapes of the two rival designs were finally unveiled.

  • Now, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you the YF-22A

  • prototype for U.S. air superiority in the 21st century.

  • On behalf of the entire team, I am honored to present the YF-23.

  • Northrop's version, called the YF-23, closely resembled its original design.

  • Well, it was a most unusual-looking aircraft, very futuristic.

  • It had twin V-tails as opposed to what's called a cruciform,

  • twin verticals and twin horizontals.

  • It had a large trapezoidal wing, and it had a very slender shape

  • when looked at from the edge-on view.

  • In contrast, Lockheed's design, called the YF-22, seemed surprisingly conventional

  • with four tail surfaces, vectored thrust, a broad, solid body, and a conventional wing.

  • But unlike Lockheed's other stealth aircraft, the F-117, radar-absorbent materials

  • were not applied over the whole of the F/A-22

  • but used selectively on its edges, cavities, and other crucial surface areas.

  • You walk around the airplane, everywhere you look,

  • what you see is something that's designed to do the job in the most efficient and effective way

  • and no wasted space, no wasted capability.,

  • It's truly an airplane that's intended and has been optimized for its job.

  • The F-22 carries its weapons internally.

  • Four weapons bays are hidden in the central mid-body section.

  • Six missiles can be carried in the ventral bays, which are covered with bifold doors.

  • The side bays will each hold one Sidewinder missile carried on a trapeze launcher.

  • The mid-body section also houses the fighter's landing gear and complex inlet ducts.

  • Right from day one on the F-22,

  • we decided to put S-shaped inlet ducts on it,

  • so the airplane is built with S-shaped inlet ducts

  • so that there's no way a radar is ever seeing the forward face of the jet engine.

  • Attached to the mid-body is the forebody,

  • which accommodates the cockpit and advanced avionics.

  • Both the YF-23 and the YF-22 are impressive-looking machines,

  • but their performance still needs to be tested.

  • The most crucial stage of the competition is still to come: the flight testing.

  • Northrop was first in the air.

  • In August 1990, the YF-23, flown by Paul Metz, went airborne.

  • The test was a huge success.

  • But Lockheed was quick to respond,

  • and on September the 29th at Edwards Air Force Base in California,