In 2016, Just two years after the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet made its combat debut in the skies above Syria
The stealth fighter jet maintainers tackled a strange issue with the fleet’s stealth coating that, if left untreated, could cause the radar-evading material to peel off the aircraft.
Operators beginning to see “wrinkles” in the low-observable (LO) coating that renders Lockheed Martin’s F-22 almost invisible to enemy radar.
According to the USAF, one of the reasons for that problem was climatic conditions affecting the area of operations.
A claim confirmed by John Cottam, head of the F-22 program of Lockheed Martin, noted that external factors, such as rain and sand dust, not only wrinkle and peel off the coating but also turn it into its original liquid state.
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Indeed this is not the first problem experienced by the F-22’s radar-absorbing coating: according to Southfront.org in 2009 US pilots complained that the coating easily erased from Raptor’s body during contact with fuel and lubricating oil.
However, Lockheed Martin claimed at that time that they had developed a new, more resistant coating that will be applied to all F-22s during maintenance operations.
Noteworthy this is not the first issue that compromises the Raptor’s stealthiness
F-22 also faces a re-occurring weapon’s system issue that affected the radar cross-section of an F-22 Raptor belonging to 43rd Fighter Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, has been fixed last month by means of the cost-effective solution developed by a 23-year-old Airman.
A cost-effective solution on which the U.S. Air Force will rely very unlikely to overcome this new problem.