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There’s Now A Second ‘Chrome’ F-22 Raptor Flying With Mirror-Like Coating At Nellis AFB


Chrome F-22
The new Chrome Raptor about to land at Nellis AFB on Mar. 17, 2022. (All photos: Steve Fortson)

A second “Chrome” F-22 has been noticed at Nellis Air Force Base working alongside different plane participating in Red Flag train.

As we’ve got reported in detail last year, there’s a form of mysterious F-22 Raptor flying over Nevada since November. First caught on digicam on Nov. 19, 2021, the unmarked stealth plane sports activities a peculiar “mirror-like” coating, by no means seen earlier than on a Raptor. The reflective metallic coating covers many of the outer “skin” of the plane leaving very evident panel traces, together with some noticed tooth ones above and on the edges of the fuselage (typical of stealth plane), in addition to some uncommon curvilinear ones (on the wings within the flaps space).

We don’t know what’s the rationale for the brand new “Chrome” or “Mirror-like” coating, though it appears to be like fairly probably it was utilized to hold out some testing exercise, presumably associated to IRST (Infra Red Search & Track), concentrating on techniques, low-power laser system testing or is a testbed for some know-how that can ultimately made its solution to the 6th generation aircraft. Considered the standing of the fragile radar absorbent material on some Raptors, there are additionally possibilities the U.S. Air Force is testing some form of RAM substitute.

Another picture of the brand new Chrome Raptor.

Anyway, the plane with the peculiar experimental coating [IDed as 04-4065], has already taken half in Weapons School Integration (WSINT) missions, the fruits of the USAF Weapons School, when college students after 6 months of Weapons Instructor Course, are put to the check throughout head-to-head engagements towards each other simulating near-peer adversaries akin to Russia and China, embedding themselves in one another’s skirmishes. In different phrases, the F-22 with the mysterious reflective pores and skin has already been used for high-end coaching, probably enjoying the adversary function.

A second F-22 with a reflective coating has simply been noticed at Nellis AFB. The new “Chrome” Raptor was first noticed on Mar. 17, 2022, by our buddy Steve Fortson, who additionally took the images you could find on this article. The new coating on this second stealth plane seems to be a lot totally different than the one on the primary one: it appears to be like like smaller, mirror-like tiles have been extensively utilized on the nostril part, weapons bay doorways, fuselage and in addition interior and outer face of the dual tails. Is the brand new coating the results of the testing carried out on the primary one?

Click to open a high-rez shut up crop of the F-22 shot. This means that you can catch the tiles utilized to the brand new “Chrome Raptor”.

Once once more, we don’t know what’s the precise objective of the brand new coating on the brand new Raptor (believed to be the airframe 04-4070 – to be confirmed), though it’s exceptional that this F-22 additionally took half in at the very least one Red Flag 22-2 sortie (flying as a part of “RAPTOR 01” formation on Mar. 17 afternoon – a 4 ship that included additionally the primary “Chrome Raptor”). Therefore, the brand new coating is already enjoying some function in present real looking coaching.

David Cenciotti is a contract journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and lots of others, masking aviation, protection, battle, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.

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