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Museum unveils F-22 public display

January 18, 2008 (by AFPN) - National Museum of the U.S. Air Force officials unveiled the new F-22 Raptor exhibit Jan. 18 available to be viewed by all visitors to the public museum.

Brig. Gen. C.D. Moore II addresses the crowd during the F-22 Raptor Exhibit Opening Ceremony at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force January 18th, 2008 at Dayton, Ohio.

Several high-ranking officials, distinguished guests and many employees from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, gathered to witness the newest Air Force fighter put on display painted to represent an F-22 flown by the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

The museum's aircraft, serial number 91-4003, was one of nine built for engineering, manufacture and development testing in 1999, and became the first F-22 to launch an AIM-120 air-to-air missile at supersonic speeds. After completing its test program, the aircraft came to the museum and was restored by the museum's restoration team.

The F-22, which was given a declaration of full operational capability by the Air Force on Dec. 12, combines stealth, maneuverability, and the ability to fly long distances at supersonic speeds into an aircraft capable of performing both air superiority and air-to-ground missions.

Since entering the Air Force's operational inventory in December 2005, the F-22 has been forging an impressive record in exercises and early deployments, proving its unmatched capabilities and exceeding expectations surrounding the program. F-22s participating in Exercise Northern Edge in June 2006 at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, achieved a kill ratio of 144 to 0 flying against legacy fighters and recorded an impressive 97 percent mission capability rate.

"The F-22 Raptor's unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities makes it the best overall fighter in the world," said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the assistant vice chief of staff and director of the Air Force staff. "It will fundamentally change how America fights -- shortening wars and saving lives. It has been 54 years since U.S. ground forces have been threatened by enemy air attacks. The F-22 is the best aircraft available to extend that timeline indefinitely."

The museum is extremely proud to be the home of the world's first and only F-22 on permanent public display, and should be seen as a place where people can come to learn more about the Air Force's current and future operations environment, said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, the museum director.

"So often when people think of an aviation museum, they think mostly about the great aircraft of the past," General Metcalf said. "However, we are a museum that not only strives to tell the Air Force stories of the past, but also those of the present and future as well, and the F-22 Raptor is performing and will continue to perform a critical role in accomplishing the Air Force mission for many years to come."

Members of the 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, which provides acquisition support to the F-22 program by managing contracts and ensuring on-time deliveries, led the effort to prepare the aircraft to be transferred to the museum.

The transfer required the talents of many people from a variety of offices, said Brig. Gen. C.D. Moore II, the 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing commander.

"The F-22 Raptor is a revolutionary combat system with its fifth generation fighter capabilities, and we are pleased to add one of these state of the art weapon systems to the museum's collection," General Moore said. "The expanding Raptor fleet, represented by the display of Ship 3 (91-4003), reflects the finest in American ingenuity, creativity and innovation."

F-22s are currently assigned to five U.S. bases. Flight testing takes place at Edwards AFB, Calif. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, Nev. Pilot and flight training takes place at Tyndall AFB, Fla. Operational F-22s are assigned to Langley AFB, Va., and at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The aircraft will also be based at Holloman AFB, N.M., and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.

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Additional images:

The F-22 Raptor is unveiled at its exhibit opening ceremony at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force January 18th, 2007 at Dayton, Ohio. [USAF photo]