Stealthy savings

A new horizontal stabilator design for the F-22 Raptor will save the program $1 million per aircraft

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has developed a new horizontal stabilator design for the F-22 Raptor that will save the program $1 million per aircraft. Stabilators, the large, left- and right-hand wing-like aerodynamic control structures horizontally mounted to the F-22’s tail, work either together or independently to control the Raptor’s pitch, spin, roll and yaw movements. Unlike stabilisers, which have both a fixed and a moving surface, the entire horizontal stabilator moves as a single unit to reposition the aircraft in the air. The new stabilator design involves mechanically fastening composite materials around a central shaft rather than bonding the materials under high pressure and heat in an autoclave. The new design also incorporates removable edges, which will make the stabilators easier to maintain or repair in the field. This new manufacturing process will shave approximately 30 pounds of weight from each stabilator and reduce its build time by approximately 25 percent. The F-22 Raptor, the world’s first stealthy air dominance fighter, it will replace the F-15 Eagle as The US's premier front-line fighter jet starting in 2005.