Why The F-22 Lost a Dogfight to a Cheap ATTACK jet
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Just recently, the Philippine Air Force announced that one of its FA-50 light attack aircraft scored a notional kill against America’s F-22 Raptor during air combat exercises held earlier in July.
But how did the best fighter in the sky manage to lose to a cheap attack jet?
All in the Context
Well, the answer is pretty much context. The attempt behind these exercises was never just to roll in with the superior force and wipe the floor with the competition.
The rules of engagement don’t just even out the playing field, but will often place the superior platform at a distinct disadvantage. Training exercises are designed to be exceedingly tough.
In the real world, however, the FA-50 wouldn’t stand much of a chance against an F-22 Raptor.
That’s because the FA-50 is, in its most basic form, just the Korean Aerospace T-50 Golden Eagle which is a jet trainer. Combat systems were just added to make it a more economically affordable and multi-role attack-oriented fighter.
The F-22 isn’t just only the stealthiest fighter to date, but it’s also powered by a pair of F119 afterburning turbofan engines with 2D thrust vector control. This not only allows significant maneuverability and handling when flying at a high angle of attack but also jaw-dropping maneuverability.
However, the most important of all is the Raptor’s APG77 V1 active electronically scanned array radar which is so powerful that even if the F-22 wasn’t stealth, it could still detect and target the FA-50 from significantly further out.
Based on photos of the training exercise that was released, it looked like the Raptor was not only allowed to take out the FA-50 from beyond visual range where its stealth would be significantly potent, but it was also not likely not allowed to use its stealth to dictate the terms of engagement.