Skip to comments.Lockheed begins test flights of final F-22
Posted on 03/14/2012 9:34:54 PM PDT by U-238
The last F-22 Raptor to be built for the US Air Force took-off on its inaugural test flight earlier today with a company pilot at the helm, a Lockheed Martin executive says.
"I was just watching the take-off of aircraft 4195, so it's now made its first flight on its way to delivery," says Jeff Babione, Lockheed's F-22 programme manager. "We just had everyone outside the building watching the take-off of the final Raptor."
Lockheed test pilot Bret Luedke-- a veteran aviator who has flown almost every Raptor the company has ever built--is flying the aircraft.
Babione says that company pilots usually fly two sorties to verify that the aircraft is functioning correctly. Super-cruise testing is usually conducted over Tennessee and Alabama, he says. The aircraft is capable of cruising at around Mach 1.8 without afterburners and has a top speed of around Mach 2.2.
"It's a real rigorous shakeout to make sure the aircraft is performing as designed," Babione says.
Following the company test flights, government Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) pilots repeat those two sorties as part of the military's acceptance procedures. The lead DCMA test pilot is Robert "Trigger" Wallace.
Only after the aircraft completes those four test sorties will it receive its stealth coatings, Babione says. The aircraft also has to complete a mandatory government inspection.
Lockheed will formally deliver aircraft 4195 to the USAF on 2 May, but the company will probably finish the work well ahead of time, Babione says.
(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...
Too bad, we need 500 more airframes for Communist China alone
Down near the bottom of the article: "The next aircraft, tail number 4191--which is the last jet built under a 60-aircraft, multi-year purchase--is set to be formally handed over to the USAF on 15 March."
60 aircraft...what a crying shame.
That's 1 for each of 0bama's United States with 3 left over!
If I am correct,the FAA assigns the tail number and there are different categories. I may be wrong.
That assumes they'd loan us the money to buy them...
That 1.2 billion TARP could have bought FIVE THOUSAND of the F-22’s.
Typo: 1.2 trillion.
Math is not my strong subject. So I have to take you word on it.
I believe just over 180 Raptors have been built... a fraction of what was originally envisioned.
Actually you are very close. About 195 Raptors have been built. 187 are in service and 8 are used as test airplanes.
They still need to find the cause the problem that causes the pilots to experience hypoxia during flight.
Your figure is very close to the 187 built, with six more added in for development purposes.
The decades of work that brought this beautiful beast into being, the cost of development and all the man hours and ingenuity, are now lost.
187 aircraft? 187?
This is like suggesting an Eagle should be able to fend off crows. Well sure, it probably could. What about 500 to 1 crows against it?
To produce an aircraft like this in numbers that will expose it to overwhelming risk, is just asinine.
It’s probably not possible at this point, but I’d like to see the nation vote in a good person that would put this sucker back into production, and give us another 320 aircraft.
The article I linked to above talks about other planes becoming suspect at 2014 and 2015.
What do they expect us to defend this nation with, paper airplanes?
Scrap it. We got Fluke’s contraception orders to fill.
Robert Gates lowered the amount of planes from 243 to 187. in case they want more the tooling for F-22 production will be documented in illustrated electronic manuals stored at the Sierra Army Depot. Congress needs to lift the ban on export of the plane to other countries.
I appreciate the thoughts and the link.
I’m going to have to disagree with your idea to export the F-22 though. One of them would wind up in China before it wound up at the first delivery.
IMO, we need to hold that tech very close to the chest.
It’s my take that your goal would be to keep production alive. I think that is an admirable goal. This aircraft is something special. The super-cruise without after burners is key here.
Even the stealth capabilities of the F-35 would cause me not to want to export it.
Produce more of our older aircraft and export them. Let’s not spread our first line of defense out to other nations.
That is why in their source code have a “kill switch”.
Thanks for piece of info.It was greatly appreciated.