July 2, 2007 (by Chris McGee) - With F-22 Raptor deliveries consistently on or ahead of schedule, Air Force officials received authorization from Congress to pursue multi-year agreements for Lots 7, 8 and 9.
With the potential for cost savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The contracts with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney will be awarded later this summer.
The 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing at the Aeronautical Systems Center is overseeing the production, delivery and fielding of additional aircraft every month. With more than 90 Raptors delivered to date, the F-22 program is running smoothly on all cylinders, according to Brig. Gen. C.D. Moore, 478th AESW commander.
"We're delivering Raptors to the warfighters, and we're pushing the first of four modernization upgrades to the field," General Moore said. "It's been a banner year so far as we continue to deliver the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter."
The 1st Fighter Wing's 27th Fighter Squadron and 94th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., have received full complements of Raptors. Two Raptors supporting training are in place at Elmendorf AFB
, Alaska, with additional Raptors arriving this summer. Future deliveries are planned for Holloman AFB, N.M., and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
The 478th AESW is focusing on Raptor sustainment as well, preparing to award a performance-based logistics support contract later this year. The contract will establish a 10-year business agreement between the Air Force and prime contractors. Air Force specialists will perform much of the depot-level support work in partnering arrangements with industry experts to ensure surge capacity and to comply with Congressional language.
In addition to managing deliveries, securing a multi-year procurement contract, and solidifying Raptor sustainment, 478th AESW officials are driving ongoing modernization efforts to add additional combat capabilities and upgrades to the F-22, encompassing both software and hardware changes