|Air Force's F-22 Program Clears Way for Production Decision |
Air Force's F-22 Program Clears Way for Production Decision
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – February 5, 2001 (AFPN) -- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company has cleared the way for an F-22 production decision with the completion of the final two requirements -- the first flight of Raptor 4006 and initiating radar cross section testing, Air Force officials said Feb. 5.
Raptor 4006 flew for 72 minutes after taking off from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company facilities in Marietta, Ga., Feb. 5. "I had every confidence the flight would be successful," said Brig.
Gen. Jay Jabour, F-22 system program director. "A carbon copy of Raptor 4004, it posed no technical challenges, but it is great to have this achievement behind us."
The other requirement, initiation of radar cross-section testing, which validates the aircraft's "stealthiness", was satisfied recently. An F-22 was previously checked for its degree of stealth on the ground during the RCS turntable measurement at the Marietta facilities. The aircraft was then flown and checked aerodynamically. The test flight dynamic results can now be compared to the turntable results to gain confidence in the manufacturing methods that produce stealth capabilities, officials said.
"The RCS characteristics of the F-22 are some of the most advanced in the world," Jabour said. "Combine this stealth capability with the F-22's first look, first shot, first kill capability and you have the premiere fighter aircraft in the world for the next 20 years.
The F-22 will guarantee U.S. and friendly forces control of the skies over the battlefield well into the 21st century, Jabour said. This unequalled air supremacy will reduce the risk to American and friendly forces on land, in the air, and over water in all types of conflicts.
Raptor 4006 will undergo additional flight-testing at Marietta before joining the F-22 program's flight test fleet at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., later this month.
The F-22 program is pioneering an effort to use the ground-based RCS testing vs. flight testing the radar cross-section. The data collected from RCS test initiation flight, compiled with earlier data, will aid in proving the acceptability of ground based tests, potentially saving more than $400 million during the life of the F-22 program.
The F-22 program is managed by the F-22 system program office at the Aeronautical Systems Center here.
The Boeing Company, Seattle, and Pratt & Whitney, Hartford, Conn. also teamed with the Air Force and Lockheed Martin to develop and produce the F-22, which is slated to be operational in 2005.