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F/A-22 undergoes tests, evaluations

by 1st Lt. Eric Badger
45th Space Wing Public Affairs

02/18/03 - LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AFPN) -- Once testing and evaluations are successfully completed on the F/A-22 Raptor, it will make its debut into the Air Force arsenal in 2005 as a replacement for the F-15 Eagle.

This announcement came from Air Force and Lockheed Martin officials during the annual Air Force Association-sponsored Air Warfare Symposium here Feb. 14.

The F/A-22's operational utility is being tested and evaluated at Air Combat Command's 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. It is passing its tests with rave reviews, according to Dr. Marvin R. Sambur, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition in Washington.

"The F/A-22 continues to perform superbly in all flight tests," he said. "So far it has exceeded requirements in all categories."

The F/A-22 possesses a sensor suite that allows the pilot to track, identify and shoot targets without being detected.

It has both air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, along with improved stealth and supercruise features that allow the aircraft to cruise at supersonic speeds, undetected and without the use of afterburners, during day or night hours.

For the first time, the F/A-22 brings stealth ability into the daytime, said officials.

The new aircraft, complete with increased reliability and maintainability, is an essential asset to the nation's warfighters in this unique time in history, said Maj. Gen. John Corley, mission area director of global power programs for the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

"The F/A-22 does what no other fighter aircraft can do," he said. "An F/A-22 squadron will require less than half as much airlift as an F-15 squadron to deploy. This aircraft provides unprecedented access to enemy areas. Its extensive capabilities will allow our warfighters to dominate future battlefields throughout the 21st century."

The F/A-22 also provides increased maneuverability, lethality and survivability along with Global Positioning System-guided bombs used to penetrate deep into enemy territories, said Corley.

Included in the enhanced technology package, the F/A-22 Raptor has the most complex software ever flown in a fighter aircraft, said Maj. Gen. Doug Pearson, Air Force Flight Test Center commander at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Upon final buy, it is estimated that the Air Force will receive approximately 276 F/A-22 Raptors.

The first bases to receive the new aircraft include Nellis; Tyndall AFB, Fla.; and Langley AFB, Va., according to Pearson.

"Rest assured the F/A-22 program is the Air Force's and Lockheed Martin's No. 1 priority," said Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and general manager of the F/A-22 Raptor program. "Together, we are totally committed to the successful completion of this project."



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