August 29, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - Lockheed Martin formally delivered the 100th F-22 Raptor to the US Air Force in a ceremony today. The milestone aircraft (USAF serial 05-4100) will be assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
Lockheed Martin rolls out the first combat-capable F-22A Raptor #05-4087 stealth fighter destined for operations in the Pacific Theater. It will be assigned to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. [Courtesy Photo]
"The F-22 is a testament to the skills of engineers and technicians from more than 1,000 companies across America," said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-22 Program General Manager Larry Lawson. "This delivery marks a significant milestone for the U.S. Air Force and the F-22 program. The Raptor is providing top cover for America and our allies. We have developed the most capable fighter in the world, which is exactly what the men and women defending us deserve."
During the ceremony, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne signed the DD-250 form, the official U.S. government acceptance document. The 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf is expected to receive its full complement of 20 F-22s by the fall of 2008.
Starting with the first parts being made, production of each Raptor takes a total span of approximately 30 months. The various parts are sent to the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia, for final assembly. With 30 positions on the assembly line in the 3.5 million square foot main production building in Marietta, the elapsed time in the major mate and final assembly process is approximately 12 months.
The forward fuselage of the F-22 is assembled in Marietta. The mid-fuselage, which contains many of the aircraft's subsystems and the weapons bays, arrive at Marietta from the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The aft fuselage, which contains the equipment and connections needed for installation of the F-22's F-119 engines, designed and built by Pratt & Whitney, arrives from the Boeing facility in Seattle, Washington. After fuselage mate, using laser alignment to ensure a precise fit, the aircraft receives its vertical and horizontal stabilizers, as well as its wings. The verticals are assembled at the Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian and Boeing builds the Raptor's fuel-carrying wings.
Raptors are currently assigned to five U.S. airbases. Flight testing takes place at Edwards AFB
in California. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB. Pilot and crew chief training takes place at Tyndall AFB. Operational Raptors are assigned to Langley AFB and at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Raptors will also be based at Holloman AFB and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.