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Top Guns

America's new $150 million* fighter jet is making its debut against ISIS

*That’s per plane.

Japan US F-22 Problems Predicted File photo of the F-22 taking off Greg Baker Greg Baker

AS THE US intensifies air strikes against the Islamic State group, the world is getting its first look at the American military’s latest hardware.

Putting a price on the F-22 Raptor fighter jet is difficult, but whole programme cost around $70 billion, making each plane cost around $350 million, with a flyaway cost of around $150 million.

Getting it flight ready was a long and tortuous process that was, at one stage, shut down.

Now, though, it is providing what manufacturers Lockheed Martin call “air dominance for the next 40 years”.

KINGJULIO3 / YouTube

It is designed primarily for air-to-air combat but has some ground strike capabilities.

It flies faster than Mach-2, has a range of nearly 2,000 miles and can be equipped with an array of advance anti-aircraft missiles.

And the F-22 flies at supersonic speeds without using afterburners, a capability referred to as “supercruise.”

It is 62 feet in length and has a 44-foot wingspan.

Due to its speed, sensors and evasion systems, the aircraft can drop its guided bombs 15 miles from a target.

The plane can also also be used for target identification for missile strikes, the role it has likely performed in Syria.

Around $70 billion was spent to acquire 195 F-22s in a project that was first launched in 1988 and involved military contractors Boeing and engine-maker Pratt & Whitney as well as Lockheed Martin.

AFP contributed reporting

Read: US Navy record missile attack on Islamic State group and upload it on YouTube

Read: The flow of Europeans joining Islamic State ‘isn’t drying up’

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