Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor Jay Miller Ian Allan/Aerofax £16.99/US$29.95 Website: www. ianallanpublishing. com
The length of time during which an aircraft is a work in progress grows increasingly longer, and it must therefore be a nice judgement choosing when to publish a reference book on a type. While the subject of this work is only recently in service – albeit with a change of designation to F-22A – with its first operational squadron, wearing the FF ‘First Fighter’ codes of the wing assigned to the defence of the capital, its story starts in the early 1980s with the launch of the Advanced Tactical Fighter programme, and there is therefore already plenty to which author Jay Miller can apply his familiar detailed Aerofax approach. There is a thorough review of the design approaches, and designs, of the various companies which led up to the fly-off between Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas, and the subsequent selection of Lockheed’s Model 1132 to serve as the basis for what may be the most prominent warplane of the first part of this century, even though its roots are firmly in the closing years of the Cold War.
The account is profusely illustrated with many of the photographs in colour, and giving sufficient detail to satisfy the demanding modeller. Potential and already-discarded develop ments are also covered and illustrated, for those who fancy making a naval or FB-22 version. I sometimes wonder about the production of a similarly comprehensive book so early in an aircraft’s ‘life’. It seems to me like writing a biography when the subject is only 21, with many of the most interesting parts of a life yet to come. But this example is extremely well done and with an aircraft whose future seems continually to be in question, perhaps it’s best to have a series of ‘snapshots’ along the way, and no doubt updated editions will follow. Those familiar with the Aerofax series will need no further recommendation; those who are not and have an interest in contemporary combat aircraft should consider this very seriously indeed.
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