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    Stealth Dominance: F-22 Raptor’s Daring Encounter with Iranian F-4 Phantoms

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    In November 2012, the skies near Iran became the silent theater for a remarkable display of stealth and power when an American F-22 Raptor managed a daring encounter with two Iranian F-4 Phantoms.

    The incident began with an American MQ-1 Predator drone surveilling over international airspace, close to Iran’s coast. Tehran, eager for reprisal after a crippling cyberattack on its nuclear program, dispatched two Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets to eliminate the drone. These jets were ill-equipped for such a task, leading to the scrambling of the F-4 Phantoms.

    FILE PHOTO — The F-22 is an air-superiority fighter with improved capability over current Air Force aircraft. From the inception of the battle, the F-22’s primary objective will be to establish air superiority through the conduct of counter air operations. The F-22 also has an inherent air-to-surface capability. A combination of improved sensor capability, improved situational awareness, and improved weapons provides first-kill opportunity against the threat. (U.S. Air Force photo)

    The Phantoms, relics of an era before the Islamic Revolution, were once cutting-edge when they dominated the skies over Vietnam.

    Fast forward several decades, and they found themselves outmatched by a ghost-like presence: the F-22 Raptor, the world’s first stealth fighter jet and a symbol of air superiority. Neither the ground radar nor the onboard systems of the F-4s could detect the Raptor as it effortlessly glided below them.

    The F-22 pilot, callsign “Showtime,” conveyed a succinct and non-violent message, advising the Phantoms to return to base – advice they promptly followed.

    Air Force Chief of Staff at the time, Gen. Mark Welsh, expressed pride in Showtime’s skill, stating, “When the combatant commander wants air power there is only one number to call.” This incident may not have been made public until months later, but it firmly established the F-22’s dominance.

    While the F-4 Phantom could reach speeds of Mach 2.23 and carry a significant payload, it paled in comparison to the Raptor’s advanced capabilities.

    The F-22 can fly at Mach 2 with a range of around 1,000 miles on internal fuel, extending to approximately 1,900 miles with external tanks.

    It is armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, ready for both air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements.

    Stealth is the Raptor’s game-changing feature. The aircraft’s radar cross-section is as minuscule as a marble, rendering it nearly invisible.

    Coupled with thrust-vectoring acrobatics and advanced avionics, the F-22 can outmaneuver and outfight any adversary, as the Iranian pilots discovered.

    The F-22 Raptor also features sophisticated communication and sensor systems enabling real-time data sharing with other aircraft and ground-based systems.

    Today, the F-22’s dominance in aerial combat remains unchallenged, a fact that comforts allies and deters foes.

    As countries like Iran, Turkey, and Greece retire their aging Phantoms, the Raptor’s reputation as the premier air superiority fighter is solidified.

    The F-22 Raptor symbolizes the peak of military aviation technology, and it will remain crucial in safeguarding national security in the future.

    Relevant articles:
    F-22 Raptor: So Stealth It Can Fly Under Fighter Jets Totally Undetected, The National Interest
    F-22 Raptor: So Stealth It Can Fly Under Fighter Jets Totally Undetected, The National Interest
    How an F-22 pilot scared Iranian fighters away with just one sentence, Sandboxx
    The F-22 Raptor: The World’s Most Advanced Stealth Fighter, avi-8.com

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