Fighter Jet News

F-22 Raptor News

F/A-22 Raptor program surpasses another key flight test goal

November 18, 2002 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The F/A-22 Raptor air dominance fighter program surpassed another key flight-test goal on Nov.13 by successfully completing initial flight-testing necessary for the U.S. Air Force to begin training pilots who will execute the program's upcoming Dedicated Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (DIOT&E) phase.

F/A-22 Raptor 4001 flies over the Compass Rose at the Rodgers Dry Lakebed here. Advanced avionics technologies will allow F/A-22 sensors to gather, integrate and display essential data in the most useful format for future pilots. [U.S. Air Force photo by Judson Brohmer]

The F/A-22 Raptor is cleared to fly up to speeds twice the speed of sound (Mach 2); to fly at altitudes above 50,000 feet; and to perform extreme maneuvers such as 9-g turns while flying subsonic (slower than Mach 1) at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Developmental flight-testing continues at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to achieve further flight envelope expansion necessary to start formal DIOT&E flight-testing next year.

"I wish to extend my congratulations to all members of the F/A-22 Combined Test Force and the Air Force-Industry team who were responsible for this significant accomplishment," said Bob Rearden, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. vice president and F/A-22 program general manager. "The flight-test and support teams have done an outstanding job achieving this goal per the plan and commitment made this summer."

This achievement also satisfies one of several Pentagon-mandated criteria that must be achieved prior to the U.S. Air Force awarding the F/A-22 Raptor industry team the Lot 3 production contract. Equally important, this achievement moves the U.S. Air Force closer to begin training pilots who will execute the program's critical Dedicated Initial Operational Test & Evaluation phase. Pilots assigned to the Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center detachment at Edwards AFB are scheduled to begin DIOT&E initial flight training early in 2003, while the formal DIOT&E phase itself is expected to begin approximately six months later.