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Following from: Raptor Informative Site (Off line)


The new F-22 cockpit promises to redefine the standard of the way fighter aircraft cockpits are supposed to look. It will be designed to let the pilot act as a tactician, as opposed to a simple sensor operator. Pilots of the F-22 will do what humans execute flawlessly, think. The pilot will totally utilize the computer power of the F-22. A few distinct improvements worth mentioning are:

  • The first baseline (NVG) Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit
  • Traditional analog/ standby dials and gauges, are absent. The F-22 will have the first all modern glass cockpit in a tactical fighter.
  • Canopy is the made of the largest piece of polycarbonate material in the world. # 1 quality and compatibility with Helmet Mounted systems which enable the pilot to keep his head focused on the target at all times.
  • Inherent design for growth and development of HMS's.

The F-22 pilot's safety is further ensured with an improved version of the military standard ACES II ejection seat. This will be tandem with new life support systems and additional space for pilot personal equipment.

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The Heads Up Display or (HUD) will be built by GEC and server as the primary flight instrument for the pilot. It will have a viewable area of 30 degrees horizontally and 25 degrees vertically. Developed by the Air Force Instrument Flight Center, the GEC HUD will use standard symbology and be 4.5 inches in height. Unlike the HDD's, the GEC HUD will not be in color. However, the symbology will be exactly the same as the Head Down Displays. As a shock absorber from bird strikes, the windshield will be protected by a rubber buffer strip placed on the HUD combiner glass. During initial bird strike tests, the HUD would routinely shatter. Precautions were taken at all costs to avoid this from happening. The buffer strip would shield the polycarbonate glass by allowing it to flex during a strike. Design is underway for a collapsible HUD that would fall but not break. In addition, the F-22 design team is developing a sort of laminate that could possibly eliminate glass from shattering in the cockpit.

The Integrated Control Panel (ICP) will be the main location where the pilot can manually input data for communications, autopilot and navigation. The ICP will be located below the HUD, underneath the glare shield and in the center top of the instrument panel. Additionally, the ICP will have "double click" features which are similar to a PC mouse in functionality. The double click feature will allow the pilot to input data more rapidly. Six Liquid crystal color displays will be housed in the cockpit. The LCD's will be fully readable in direct sunlight. Notable improvements of LCD's when compared to the older generation displays of CRT's are a lower weight, less size and a lower power consumption. The LCD's are inherently more reliable because of the lower power consumption. Two Up Front Display's (UFD)'s are located to the left and right of the ICP. They measure 3x4 inches. The primary function of the UFD's are to provide the pilot with cautionary information/warning/advisory, data communications/navigation/identification (CNI)data and act as the serve as the Stand-by Flight instrumentation Group and Fuel Quantity Indicator. A maximum of 12 messages can appear on the UFD's at any given time, and remaining faults can be indexed as sub pages.

What differentiates the UFD's from standard warning light panels is it eliminates erroneous messages that normally appear in other jets via a filtering system. The other difference is the UFD's provide an electronic checklist which is comparable to a F-ACK list in the F-16. However, the UFD's in the F-22 will be able to provide data on the UFD in non-emergency situations. An audio system is an additional feature that provides warning to the pilot in time of a aircraft fault. The pilot is alerted to the fault in great detail. For example, the UFD might display a caution light, but the audio alert would sound "Caution-Engine Flame Out."

The Stand-by Flight Group shows the basic information (such as an artificial horizon) the pilot needs to fly the aircraft. Presented on an LCD display it is always in operation. The Stand by Flight group is tied to the last source of power in the aircraft. If every system fails, the pilot will still be able to fly the aircraft. Located in the middle of the instrument panel, under the ICP is the Primary Multi-Function Display (PMFD). This 8"x8" color display is the pilots principal display for aircraft navigation (including showing waypoints and route of flight) and Situation Assessment (SA) or a "God's-eye view" of the entire environment around (above, below, both sides, front and back) the aircraft. Three Secondary Multi-Function Displays (SMFDs) are all 6.25" x 6.25" and two of them are Located on either side of the PMFD on the instrument panel with the third underneath the PMFD between the pilot's knees. The SMFD's are used for displaying tactical (both defensive and offensive) information as well as non-tactical information (such as checklists, subsystem status, engine thrust output, and stores management).

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The tactical information shown on the displays is all intuitive to the pilot. He/she can tell the situation around him by a glance at the screen. Enemy aircraft are shown as red triangles, friendly aircraft are green circles, unknown aircraft are shown as yellow squares, and wingmen are shown as blue F-22s. Surface-to-air missile sites (SAM)s are represented by pentagons (along with an indication of exactly what type missile it is) and its lethal range. The symbols are further refined in addition to shape and color. A filled-in triangle indicates the pilot has a missile firing-quality solution against the target, while an open triangle does not indicate a firing-quality solution. In order to retrieve more information from the aircraft's avionics system, the pilot has a cursor on each screen. The system can determine to a 98% probability the target's type of aircraft. An aircraft is shown as an unknown if the system can't make an identification to that degree.

The original objectives for the F-22 was to increase the percentage of fighter pilots who make "kills". The Inter/Intra Flight Data Link (IFDL) is a powerful tool that makes all F-22s more capable. The best feature of the IFDL is each F-22 can be linked together to trade information without radio calls with each F-22s in a flight or between flight. Each pilot is then free to operate more autonomously. For example, the leader can tell at a glance what his wing man's fuel state is, weapons remaining, and even the enemy aircraft targeted. This feature is reserved for only select tactical aircraft in the USAF inventory, with the most modern avionics. Classical tactics based on visual identification and violent formation maneuvers that reduce the wing man to "hanging on" may have to be rethought in light of such capabilities.

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The F-22 features a side-stick controller (like an F-16) in addition to two throttles that are the aircraft's primary flight controls. Located on the right console, the GEC-built stick also serves as a swing-out, adjustable arm rest. The stick is force sensitive and has a throw of only about one-quarter of an inch. The throttles are located on the left console.

During air combat, both the stick and the throttles are high-use controls . To support pilot functional requirements, the grips include buttons and switches (that are both shape and texture coded) to control more than 60 different time-critical functions. The buttons are used to control the offensive (weapons targeting and release) and defensive systems, (although some, like chaff and flares, can operate both automatically and manually) as well as display management.

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Previous fighter cockpits were sized to accommodate the 5th percentile to 95th percentile pilots (a range of only 90%). The F-22 cockpit is sized to accommodate the 0.5 percentile to 99.5 percentile pilots (the body size of the central 99% of the Air Force pilot population) This represents the largest range of pilots accommodated by any tactical aircraft now in service. The rudder pedals are adjustable. The pilot has 15-degree over-the-nose visibility and excellent over-the-side and aft visibility as well.

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The cockpit interior lighting is fully Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible, as is the exterior lighting. The cockpit panels feature extended life, self-balancing, electro luminescent (EL) edge-lit panels with an integral life-limiting circuit that runs the lights at the correct power setting throughout their life. It starts at one-half power and gradually increases the power output to insure consistent panel light intensity over time. As a result, the cockpit always presents a well-balanced lighting system to the pilot (there is not a mottled look in the cockpit). The panels produce low amounts of heat and power and are very reliable.

The aircraft also has integral position and anti-collision lights (including strobes) on the wings. The low voltage electro luminescent formation lights are located at critical positions for night flight operations on the aircraft (on the forward fuselage (both sides) under the chine, on the tip of the upper left and right wings, and on the outside of both vertical stabilizers. There are similar air refueling lights on the butterfly doors that cover the air refueling receptacle.

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The F-22 life support system F-22 Life Support System (illustration) integrates all critical components of clothing, protective gear, and aircraft equipment necessary to sustain the pilot's life while flying the aircraft. In the past, these components had been designed and produced separately. The life support system components include:

An on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) that supplies breathable air to the pilot. An integrated breathing regulator/anti-g valve (BRAG) that controls flow and pressure to the mask and pressure garments. A chemical/biological/cold-water immersion (CB/CWI) protection ensemble. An upper body counter pressure garment and a lower body anti-G garment acts a partial pressure suit at high altitudes. An air-cooling garment, which is also going to be used by pilots on the Army's RAH-66 Comanche helicopter provides thermal relief for the pilot. Helmet and helmet-mounted systems including C/B goggles and C/B hood; and the MBU-22/P breathing mask and hose system. The Boeing-led life support development and its suppliers designed the life support system with the F-22's advanced performance capabilities in mind. The separate components of the life-support system must simultaneously meet pilot protection requirements established by the Air Force in the areas of higher altitude flight, acceleration, heat distress, cold water immersion, chemical and biological environments, fire, noise, and high-speed/high-altitude ejection. Escape-system tests have demonstrated that the life-support system will protect pilots when exposed to wind speeds of up to 600 knots. Current life-support systems are designed to provide protection only up to 450 knots. The head mounted portions of the life-support system are approximately 30 percent lighter than existing systems, which improves mobility and endurance time for pilots. With its advanced design, the HGU-86/P helmet that will be used by F-22 pilots during EMD reduces the stresses on a pilot's neck by 20 percent during high-speed ejection compared to the current HGU-55/P helmets. The F-22 helmet fits more securely as the result of an ear cup tensioning device and is easily fitted to a pilot's head. The helmet provides improved passive noise protection and incorporates an Active Noise Reduction (ANR) system for superior pilot protection. The chemical/biological/cold water immersion garment is to be worn by pilots when they fly over large bodies of cold water or into chemical/biological warfare situations. These garments meet or exceed Air Force requirements. During cold water immersion tests, the body temperature of test subjects wearing the garments fell no more than a fraction of a degree after sitting in nearly 32-degree Fahrenheit water for two hours. Current CWI suits allow body temperatures to drop below the minimum of 96.8 degrees F within an hour and a half. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F. Other advantages of the F-22 life support system include its ability to fit a wider range of sizes and body shapes (the central 99% of the US Air Force pilot population).

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The F-22's canopy is approximately 140 inches long, 45 inches wide, 27 inches tall, and weighs approximately 360 pounds. It is a rotate/translate design, which means that it comes down, slides forward, and locks in place with pins. It is a much more complex piece of equipment than it would appear to be. The F-22 canopy's transparency (made by Sierracin) features the largest piece of monolithic polycarbonate material being formed today. It has no canopy bow and offers the pilot superior optics (Zone 1 quality) throughout (not just in the area near the HUD) and it offers the requisite stealth features. The canopy is resistant to chemical/biological and environmental agents, and has been successfully tested to withstand the impact of a four-pound bird at 350 knots. It also protects the pilot from lightning strikes. The 3/4" polycarbonate transparency is actually made of two 3/8" thick sheets that are heated and fusion bonded (the sheets actually meld to become a single-piece article) and then drape forged. The F-16's canopy, for comparison, is made up of laminated sheets. A laminated canopy generally offers better bird strike protection, and because of the lower altitude where the F-16 operates, this is an advantage. However, lamination also adds weight as well as reduced optics. There is no chance of a post-ejection canopy-seat-pilot collision as the canopy (with frame) weighs slightly more on one side than the other. When the canopy is jettisoned, the weight differential is enough to make it slice nearly ninety degrees to the right as it clears the aircraft.

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The F-22 uses an improved version of the ACES II (Advanced Concept Ejection Seat) ejection seat ACES II Ejection Seat (illustration) that is used in nearly every other Air Force jet combat aircraft (F-16, F-117, F-15, A-10, B-1, B-2). The seat has a center mounted (between the pilots leg's) ejection control. The F-22 version of the McDonnell Douglas-built ACES II includes several improvements over the previous seat models. These improvements include:

The addition of an active arm restraint system to eliminate arm flail injuries during high speed ejections. An improved fast-acting seat stabilization drogue parachute system to provide increased seat stability and safety for the pilot during high-speed ejections. The drogue is located behind the pilot's head, rather than in the back of the seat and is mortar-deployed. A new electronic seat and aircraft sequencing system that improves the timing of the various events that have to happen in order for the pilot to eject (initiation, canopy jettison, and seat catapult ignition). A larger oxygen bottle gives the ejecting pilot more breathing air to support ejection at higher altitudes (if required). The F-22 ACES II ejection system utilizes the standard analog three-mode seat sequencer that automatically senses the seat speed and altitude, and then selects the proper mode for optimum seat performance and safe recovery of the pilot. Mode 1 is low speed, low altitude; Mode 2 is high speed, low altitude; and Mode 3 is high altitude.

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