October 2, 2008 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The F-22 Raptor has surpassed more than 50,000 total flight hours in August while establishing new standards in capability and maturity.
A Langley AFB based F-22 Raptor of the ACC Demo Team flown by 'Max' Moga is seen at the 2008 NAS Oceana Airshow. [Photo by Mike Kopack]
"The F-22 continues to demonstrate the field performance vital to an operational weapon system,” said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-22 general manager. “The fleet reliability measures are ahead of plan and the force-on-force exercises have shown Raptors provide the capability to dominate airspace today and in the future."
Pilots and crews at six U.S. bases achieved this maturity level. Operational, frontline Raptors are assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB
, Va.; the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, N.M.; and the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. These units maintain constant readiness supporting Air Combat and Pacific Air Force Commands.
The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., tests new F-22 capabilities, most recently releasing a small diameter bomb at supersonic speed for the first time. Nellis AFB, Nev., hosts two F-22 missions, operational testing and tactics development, along with Fighter Weapons School training – the fighter pilot’s “PHD” course. Pilot and crew chief training is at Tyndall AFB, Fla., with the first basic course students currently undergoing F-22 certification. Raptors will also be based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
The warfighter has put the Raptor to the test since reaching initial operational capability in 2005 and full operational capability in 2007. F-22s have flown in multiple Red Flag events, Northern Edge exercises, deployed to Kadena Air Base Japan, Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), Guam, and flown in the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Farnborough Air Show. In all exercises and demonstrations the Raptor’s world-class capability has been clearly established.
The Raptor’s stealth, integrated avionics, maneuverability and supercruise speed (1.5 times the speed of sound without afterburner) give the F-22 "first-look, first-shot, first-kill" capability.
Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and F-35 aircraft deliver game changing 5th Generation capabilities designed to defeat current and future threats. Representing a quantum leap in air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities that provide an order of magnitude increase in operational effectiveness over legacy fighters, the F-22 and F-35 will dominate any foreseeable threat environment and ensure joint and combined operational flexibility for years to come.
The F-22 Raptor is built by Lockheed Martin teamed with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney. Parts and subsystems are provided by approximately 1,000 suppliers in 44 U.S. states. Lockheed Martin has delivered 127 Raptors to the U.S. Air Force.