The F-22 Raptor was a highlight of this year's EAA Airventure Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Raptor Demo Team flew in aircraft that were from Langely AFB in Virginia, where the team is based. One of those jets showed comparatively extreme signs of corrosion on the upper nose area, right before the canopy.
In fact, the section was in such poor shape that it offered a bizarre and fascinating view of what some of the F-22's most prominent surface areas are made up of.
As you can see in the images, it's not just that the surface is corroded, it appears that areas of the radar-absorbent material (RAM) beneath it has fallen away entirely. It almost looks like there are gaping holes in the jet's upper nose, but that may not actually be the case. If you look closely, it seems like there may be a translucent coating in place over the area that creates a shell or sorts that laminates to the foam-like structure below. Still, the F-22's nose looks somewhat hollow inside.
Even the AN/AAR-56 missile launch warning system aperture appears to be at least partially 'floating' on this shell-like arrangement. If these were holes and open to the air, one would think the section would quickly rip apart while the jet was underway and cause negative aerodynamic and buffeting effects, as well as other issues.
Regardless, we are looking at truly amazing material and construction science that appears downright alien when compared to that of non-stealthy fighters. (end of excerpt)
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