The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is one of the most advanced military jet fighters in the world. First flying in September 1997, the Raptor is still at the forefront of the USAF’s fighter fleet, and was recently joined by the F-35 Lightning. The Raptor also joins a growing list of extremely advanced combat aircraft around the world, from countries including Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As for the final country, they also have a very advanced aircraft in their arsenal.
Developed in conjunction with other European nations, the Eurofighter Typhoon is the centerpiece of Britain’s Royal Air Force, and it is an aircraft in service with other air arms around the world such as Germany, Italy , Austria and Spain to name a few. In contrast, the Raptor’s technology and cost overruns imposed an export ban on the aircraft. In theory, these two planes are very capable and comparable to each other, but how do the two jets compare? We’re going to dive in there and investigate these two machines, to find out how they actually compare.
The typhoon in detail
The Typhoon was developed as a multirole and air superiority fighter, and development began in 1983 with the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. France would leave the development program to continue its Dassault Rafale. The first Eurofighter prototype took flight on August 6, 1986, with what was called the British Aerospace EAP, with Typhoon’s final form differing somewhat from the EAP prototype. The Typhoon has a delta wing design, with a pair of canards forward, similar to the Rafale. Its intricate fly-by-wire system and relaxed stability design give the aircraft near-unparalleled agility.
The Typhoon entered active service in August 2003. Its power comes from two Eurojet EH200 afterburning turbofan engines, which propel the aircraft to a top speed of Mach 2.0, or 1,320 mph. As for the armament of the Typhoon, it can carry various weapons. Over the years, the Typhoon has carried various weapons such as GBU-10 Paveway II GPS bombs and AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, while it also has a Mauser BK-27mm cannon, a weapon originally developed for the Panavia Tornado. . In total, there are 13 hardpoints for weaponry on the Typhoon.
The F-22 Raptor in detail
The Raptor meanwhile had a difficult upbringing. It first flew in 1997 and entered service in 2005, with the US Air Force remaining the sole operator of the aircraft. An original 750 plane order of this type was drastically reduced to 187 due to high costs and lack of air-to-air missions. The Raptor is an air superiority fighter with stealth capabilities, but it can also conduct ground strikes and assist in an electronic warfare role. The Raptor’s design is more conventional in some respects than the Typhoon’s, with no forward canards, with the main wing design in a diamond-cut shape, similar to a delta wing.
The Raptor is also Mach 2 capable. Its power comes from two augmented Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans, and these propel the aircraft to a top speed above the Typhoon of Mach 2.25, or 1,500 mph. As for the Raptor’s weaponry, a wide array of weapons can be carried, including in its internal weapons bays. It has three, which can carry weapons such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM. The Raptor also has a cannon in the form of the M61A2 Vulcan 20mm rotary cannon, and the main weapons bay can also have a bomb rack for weapons such as GPS JDAMs.
How Typhoon and Raptor Compare
Both aircraft perform relatively similar roles where they can participate in both ground attack missions and fight for air superiority. Both are also very nimble machines, and it’s hard to really determine which is more nimble, but the Raptor just might have the edge over its European counterpart. Of course, both took off in the 1990s and also experienced various schedule delays. But each is at the forefront of their various aerial weapons.
What is the best plane?
That’s still a tough question to answer, but the advantage just might go with the Raptor. It has a higher top speed than the Typhoon, the same range at 1,800 miles, and the same service ceiling at 65,000 feet. Additionally, its agility is world renowned and its stealth abilities give it another edge over the Typhoon. That’s not to say the Eurofighter can’t. It is a very advanced and improving machine. But America might well have beaten Europe in this one.
Sources: Breaking Defense, BAE Systems, We Are The Mighty,