April 15, 2002 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The F-22 Raptor industry team today delivered to the U.S. Air Force Raptor 4009, the last flight test aircraft to be produced under the program's Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase contract.
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Over the next nine weeks, Raptor 09 will be subjected to a series of dedicated tests and evaluations designed to validate how easy the F-22 is to maintain and repair.
"During the tests, hundreds of aircraft parts will be removed and re-installed to ensure maintenance instructions for the aircraft meet USAF requirements," said Bob Rearden, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company vice president and F-22 program general manager. "The test team will also verify the user-friendliness of the Raptor's support equipment, as well as determine that all necessary human factors and environmental safety factors have been considered in the design and production of the F-22."
These logistics tests will be conducted by a team of USAF officials - including the first group of F-22 maintenance instructors - supported by contractor personnel, at Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta, Ga. "This testing was to have been accomplished at the program's Combined Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base in California," Rearden said. "But the cost savings generated from conducting these tests at Marietta convinced us that doing this here was the smartest path to take."
Conducting the dedicated logistics test and evaluation activities at Marietta rather than Edwards AFB
is expected to help the program avoid spending approximately $500,000 on potentially duplicative efforts necessary to prepare the aircraft for the evaluation exercise and then return it to flight status.
Following the logistics tests, Raptor 09 will begin thorough ground tests in preparation of delivery to Edwards AFB later this summer. Once there, the aircraft will begin flight test operations with the six F-22s already there.