Fighter Jet News

F-22 Raptor News

Final developmental flight test F/A-22 ferries to California

February 14, 2003 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The final F/A-22 Raptor built for developmental flight testing was flown from the company's facilities in Marietta, Ga., recently to California.

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The aircraft will shortly join the U.S. Air Force's Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base. The flight testing is part of the program's Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase.

'It was extremely satisfying to see Raptor 09 leave Marietta for use by the Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB,' said Ralph Heath, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company executive vice president and F/A-22 program general manager. 'With this event, we move one step closer to closing out the program's EMD phase.'

At Edwards, Raptor 4009 (Air Force serial number 91-009) will be assigned to the Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) detachment there. It will be used to demonstrate F/A-22 lethality, survivability and reliability during the program's critically important Dedicated Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (DIOT&E) phase, scheduled to begin this summer.

During DIOT&E four F/A-22s - Raptors 08, 09, 10 and 11 - all of which were delivered during 2002 - will be used by AFOTEC and Air Combat Command pilots to determine whether the F/A-22 is capable of, and suitable for, operational use. An additional F/A-22, Raptor 07, will support DIOT&E as a backup aircraft.

In the spring and summer of 2002, Raptor 09 - while still in Marietta - was subjected to a series of tests conducted by the Air Force to validate how easy the F/A-22 is to maintain and repair. Known as Dedicated Logistics Testing and Evaluation (DLT&E), the successful completion of those tests was a major achievement, and a key event necessary for the timely start of the DIOT&E phase.

In related news, the F/A-22 program continues to execute EMD activities necessary before DIOT&E can begin.

The F/A-22's flare countermeasures were recently flight tested for the first time. During the test, MJU-10 flares were released from a Raptor test aircraft flown from Edwards AFB. All flares separated cleanly from the aircraft.

The first ground-based live-fire testing of the Raptor's M61A2 rotary cannon has occurred. The test demonstrated the Gatling gun's basic functionality with a single, 6-round burst of 20mm shells against a fixed target.

Lastly, to date, the Raptors at Edwards AFB aircraft have accumulated almost 2,900 flight