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F-22 Raptor News

F/A-22 Raptor prepares for initial operational capability

August 29, 2005 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Lockheed Martin, builder of the world's only 5th generation fighter aircraft flying today, provided an F/A-22 Raptor program update detailing the game-changing advantages and unmatched capabilities that only the F/A-22 can bring to the United States and its allies.

An AIM-9 Sidewinder missile begins its early separation from a F-22A Raptor #91-4002 during a launch. The major milestone test evaluated the next-generation fighter's ability to fire an air-to-air missile from an internal weapons bay. [USAF photo by Judson Brohmer]

"This has been a great year for the Raptor program," said Larry Lawson, executive vice president and general manager of the F/A-22 program, at the Air Force Association's 2005 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition. "We had excellent news in February when the Air Force announced the F/A-22 Raptor as ‘overwhelmingly effective,' based on performance results of its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). More good news followed in March when the Department of Defense approved the Raptor for full rate production."

"We are two weeks into Follow-On Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) and the supersonic drop of a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) from the Raptor on the first attempt in July are also significant milestones for the program," Lawson added. "We've completed final assembly on 62 of the 83 revolutionary stealthy aircraft presently on contract, and all Raptors slated for delivery this year are now on the flight line."

In short, Lawson reported the F/A-22 program is healthy, and on track – with superb production and solid aircraft performance.

Lockheed Martin and its industry team partners are working side by side with the Air Force at all F/A-22 bases as the Air Force prepares for Initial Operational Capability (IOC) later this year. The Air Force now has 47 F/A-22 Raptors flying at four bases, Edwards AFB, Calif., Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev. and Langley AFB, Va., where airmen are involved in flight testing, tactics development, flight and maintenance training and preparing for real world operational employment capability later this year.

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