June 13, 2002 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The F-22 Raptor team successfully completed a key phase of logistics testing and evaluation (LT&E) here this week - several days ahead of schedule. This is a major achievement in preparing for the U.S. Air Force to begin Dedicated Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (DIOT&E) next year.
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor (LMTAS photo)
Conducting the tests at Lockheed Martin's Marietta facility instead of the originally planned location of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., will save the program approximately $500,000.
Since mid-April of this year, Raptor 4009, the last Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD
) flight-test aircraft to be built during the program's EMD phase, has been subjected to a series of tests designed to validate how easy the F-22 is to maintain and repair. Bob Rearden, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. vice president and F-22 general program manager, said the tests results indicate the F-22 will be easier to maintain than America's current generation of fighter aircraft.
"During the tests, hundreds of aircraft parts were removed and re-installed to ensure the aircraft's maintenance instructions meet the Air Force's requirements," Rearden said. "The test team has also verified the user-friendliness of the Raptor's support equipment and determined that all necessary human factors and environmental safety factors have been considered in the F-22's design and production."
The logistics tests were conducted by a team of U.S. Air Force personnel - including the service's 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."
With logistics testing complete, Raptor 09 is being readied for its first flight and ferry to Edwards AFB
, two events expected to occur later this summer. Once at Edwards, Raptor 09 will join the six other Raptors there now, currently conducting developmental flight-test activities.