The F-22 Raptor is the US Air Force’s first real Stealth Tactical Fighter. If you have been following any of my previous post than you know I usually tie my history in the Air Force to each aircraft. Well, I wish I had something to share with you other than I have seen it flying a lot at Nellis AFB. All kidding aside, this is a truly magnificent aircraft to see flying. It has had it’s fair share of issues, but luckily for the Raptor guys the F-35 guys are taking more crap than them.
When I first decided to design the F-22 Challenge coin I was thinking I wanted to do something different this time. With the F-117 and the B-2 I did them in a polished black nickel finish to give them a shiny but black stealth look. I couldn’t decide with this one whether I wanted a shiny polished finish or dull finish to make it look more like the real aircraft. Every time I make a new aircraft I have the factory make me a sample to make sure it is exactly how I want it to look. So this time, I had the factory make a sample for both. Once the samples came in I polled all of my friends to see which one they liked the most. They were split right down the middle so I decided to make them both.
By now, I have probably bored you with the details of how I have made the coin. Well I am not done, because I also need to tell you how I designed the bottom. In 1981, the US Air Force established a requirement to replace the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. This program was called the Advanced Tactical Fighter. In 1986 Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics and Northrop/McDonald Douglas were selected to complete the YF-22 and YF-23 prototypes for a series of flight test to see which aircraft would be selected as the next Advanced Tactical Fighter.
The 411th Flight Test Squadron which is apart of the 412th Test Wing conducted the competition between YF-22 and YF-23 from 1989–1991. One of the big factors that helped the Lockheed team was that they designed Thrust Vectoring Nozzles to really enhance it’s maneuverability during dogfights. On 23 April 1991, Secretary of the Air Force Donald Rice announced that the YF-22 would be the next Advanced Tactical Fighter.
The 411th Flight Test Squadron and the 412th Test Wing belong to the Air Force Material Command. These men and women were responsible for the success and the eventual selection of the YF-22. They still handle most of the testing that continues to go on with the modern day F-22 Raptor and this is why I decided to put the AFMC, 412th Test Wing and the 411th Flight Test Squadron patch on the bottom of the aircraft.
If you like this coin you can purchase it or one of my other unique aircraft challenge coins by clicking on my My Store.