My brother (Brice B.) and I made a couple of custom True Heroes F-22's, into the new GI Joe aircraft. Below is a little info about the new Joe aircraft.
With the recent retirement of the F-14, and the scheduled retirement of the Skystriker in 2009, the GI Joe team has needed a new air and ground attack aircraft. With terrorism on the rise all over the world (thanks to Cobra), the GI Joe team must retain an aircraft capable of carrier operations. GI Joe have always demanded the very latest technology, but with the F-35C years away form being fielded, the Joe team needed a fifth generation aircraft. To fill this need in a timely manner, it was decided to convert an existing airframe.
Introducing the GI Joe GhostStriker.
The Ghoststriker program started in the late 1980's as a program to convert existing airframes into the latest generation fighter/bomber aircraft. The F-16 was chosen as the initial airframe to be converted, but with only limited success, the program was canceled after only a small number of aircraft being produced. The program was reinstated in 2002 to develop a replacement for the aging Skystrikers.
At great expense to the US Defense Department, the F-22C (carrier variant) was developed exclusively for GI Joe. The F-22C was designed from the F-22A, and has 73% common parts.
During the F-22's development in the late 1980's and early 90's, the decision was made to abandon the idea of the F-22 being a dual purpose airframe to meet the needs of both the US Navy and Air Force. Designers favored a light weight airframe for increased performance. This light airframe is insufficient to withstand the stresses of carrier use. Today's new composite technology has allowed for the reinforcement of the F-22 airframe with only a modest increase in weight. The F-22C program allowed for no more than a 15% weight increase and a target goal of 10%. The program yielded an impressive 7% increase in the overall weight of the aircraft. Along with the reinforced airframe, landing gears, and tail hook, the F22C was developed with folding wings, and larger control surfaces for improved low speed performance to operate as a carrier based platform.
The F-22C shares similar features with the F-35, such as a full-panel-width "panoramic cockpit display", and a cockpit speech-recognition system to improve the pilot's ability to operate the aircraft over the current-generation F-22A. Other improvements are in the avionics, navigation, and targeting systems.
The US Air Force/Navy experimental Digital Aerial Camouflage Pattern (DACP) is being field tested on one of the GhostStrikers. Initial testing has proven the new design to be very effective, and will be implemented on all new GhostStrikers.
To date, only six Ghoststrikers have been produced, with plans for a total of 8 aircraft to be delivered. Only two Ghoststrikers have completed testing and are about to enter service.
The first Ghoststriker to complete testing, became the first of four aircraft to form Strike Fighter Squadron 223 (The Flying Pirates) and deploys with the USS Harry S. Truman in the Atlantic fleet.
The second to complete testing, forms the 225th Specter Strike Squadron, and deploys with the USS Ronald Reagon in the Pacific Fleet.
With the Ghoststriker, GI Joe will have the most advanced aircraft ever to fly.