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How The F-22 Raptor Helped Shape Ford’s Latest Off-Road F-150

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor draws inspiration from the F-22 Fighter Jet.
Image Via Ford.

The truck segment in the United States was forever changed when the Ford F-150 Raptor made its first appearance on the scene in 2009. The baja-bashing truck kicked off a craze of off-road focused automobiles, which continues to rage on. The Ford F-150 Raptor has now entered its third generation for the 2021 model year, and with it comes a whole new look. Well, somewhat of a new look, as the truck was specifically designed to incorporate the best cues from both previous iterations. Although that isn’t to say that Ford didn’t look elsewhere for inspiration when designing the new F-150 Raptor. In fact, we know that the design team was heavily inspired by the all-mighty F-22 Raptor built by Lockheed Martin. Now though, Ford is sharing a bit more information about how these two Raptors are related.

MC&T first reported on this unlikely relationship back in February, when Ford first showed off some of these F-22 derived design cues. And while the two vehicles do share a name, we wouldn’t knock anyone for struggling to understand the similarities between a fighter jet and a pickup truck. That said, F-150 Raptor lead exterior designer Tom Liu is a massive fan of aircraft. Liu felt that the two Raptors shared a focus on speed and agility, and he wanted to incorporate some of it’s purposeful design elements into the truck.

The design of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is more than just an expression of Liu’s passion for airplanes however. The designer has specifically noted that he saw this as an opportunity to honor the folks who have served this country, as well as their families.

“Active U.S. military and veterans are a big customer base for us on F-150 Raptor, so I wanted to bring the spirit of F-22 Raptor on board with this third generation,” he said. “To work on an icon like this really means the world to me.

From a design perspective, the truck does carry similar detailing and surfaces as the fighter jet. More direct comparisons can be made around the Ford F-150 Raptor’s various air vents, such as the ones on the fenders and hood. The fender vents in particular were specifically designed to mirror the front intakes of F-22, while the hood extractor shares some similarities with the plane’s wings. You’ll also notice some sharp, angular details throughout the front and rear treatments that are meant to invoke the overall look of the F-22 Raptor. Regardless of how successful you think these shapes are, Lockheed Martin sure seems to appreciate the nod.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Design F-22 Raptor
Image via Ford.

“Ford is known for its legacy of great innovation and design, and the F-22 Raptor brings that same pride in design and development to our nation,” said OJ Sanchez, former F-22 pilot and vice president and general manager, F-22 program, Lockheed Martin. “I think it’s the perfect match, and it’s humbling that F-150 shares the namesake of Raptor.”

So then next time you are up close and personal with a Ford F-150 Raptor, take a peek and see if you can spot these fighter jet cues. They may not be obvious, but they do tell a story about how automotive design takes place. And that is pretty cool stuff, fighter jet cues or not.  

Image Via Ford.

Written by Lucas Bell

Lucas holds a journalism degree from Wayne State University, and is a Automotive Press Association scholarship recipient. While an American muscle fan through and through, he once wrote a fascinating comparison review about eScooters.

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