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Raptor Raptor Everywhere!

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Aerial port view of two aircraft in flight, one on top of the other. The bottom aircraft is a four-engined propeller-driven aircraft, which is escorted by a jet fighter.
“Raptor and TU-95” by U.S. Air Force photo – http://www.elmendorf.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/071122-f-1234X-001.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What if the US hadn’t refused to export the F-22?

In 1997, the United States government determined that the Raptor, America’s most advanced air superiority fighter, could not be exported to any foreign government, even those of close allies. The unstated reason for this ban was suspicion that Israel would, if it gained access to the F-22, transfer technology associated with the aircraft to Russia or China. The United States cannot, as a political matter of course, single out Israel for a ban on the sale of advanced technology, and so the F-22 export ban covered all potential buyers.

On the upside, this left the United States as the sole operator of what is probably the world’s most effective air superiority aircraft. On the downside, it forced U.S. allies (not to mention Lockheed Martin) to rely heavily on the success of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as legacy platforms.

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