Raptor enters final phase of testing
Fighter to finish follow-on evaluation in fourth quarter
After 19 years of development, the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F/A-22 Raptor has reached the final hurdle before entering service with the US Air Force. Follow-on test and evaluation of the stealth fighter began on 29 August, with the USAF still planning to declare initial operational capability in December.
Follow-on testing involves seven operationally representative Raptors incorporating software and hardware upgrades intended to address deficiencies identified during initial operational test and evaluation earlier this year.
Although rated operationally effective during the initial evaluation, the F/A-22 was judged not to be operationally suitable after it failed to meet the required 85% mission-capable rate because of immature diagnostics and maintenance procedures and parts unreliability. Maintenance of the Raptor’s low-observable characteristics on the flightline was also a concern.
Aircraft involved in follow-on testing are being upgraded to the baseline configuration to be introduced with the 47th Raptor – the next combat-coded F/A-22 to be delivered to the first operational unit at Langley AFB, Virginia. This includes the latest operational flight program software, which incorporates updated fault detection and isolation capabilities, as well as improved-reliability parts, says Lockheed.
Follow-on testing – to be conducted at Nellis AFB in Nevada, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and the Utah Test & Training Range – will include the F/A-22’s air-to-ground capabilities and its operational suitability after the upgrades, says the USAF. Suitability testing will cover sortie generation, including weapons loading and low-observable maintenance, and the deployment requirements in terms of numbers of Boeing C-17 flights needed to support forward basing.
Effectiveness testing will include use of Boeing’s air-to-ground Joint Direct Attack Munition and Raytheon’s AIM-120 Amraam air-to-air missile. This final stage of testing is scheduled to finish late in the fourth quarter, with completion of the evaluation report expected 45 days later. This may place a question mark against the USAF’s stated plan to declare initial operational capability by year-end.
Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor Enters Follow-On Test and Evaluation, Achieves Another Milestone Toward Operational Fielding
Monday August 29, 2:13 pm ET
MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT - News) F/A-22 Raptor team marked another milestone today toward operational fielding of the F/A-22 when the U.S. Air Force officially began Follow-On Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada.
For the next several weeks, seven Raptors will fly in a series of event-based operational battlespace scenarios. This phase of testing will further demonstrate the overwhelmingly effective performance of the aircraft, and its suitability and readiness for Initial Operational Capability later this year.
"We at Lockheed Martin, along with our partners Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, and thousands of men and women at nearly 1,000 subcontractors in 42 states, who build the F/A-22 Raptor, are honored to be part of this proud moment for the team and for the U.S. Air Force. FOT&E will build on the success achieved in Initial Operational Test and Evaluation late last year in which the Raptor was declared 'overwhelmingly effective,' an unparalleled score for a new weapons system. The contractor team is committed to supporting the Air Force during FOT&E as it continues to expand the Raptor's capability and improved suitability," said Larry Lawson, executive vice president and general manager, F/A-22 program for Lockheed Martin.
Final preparations are well underway for the establishment of the first operational wing at Langley AFB, Va. Currently, the F/A-22 Raptor now flies at four U.S. Bases:
* Development testing is conducted at Edwards AFB, Calif.
* Tactics development and FOT&E is ongoing at Nellis AFB, Nev.
* A full squadron of Raptors is based at Tyndall AFB, Fla. for pilot and
* At the same time Raptor aircraft are being delivered to and are flying
at Langley AFB, Va. in preparation for Initial Operational Capability.
The F/A-22 Raptor is the world's most advanced fighter. Aircraft production takes place at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities in Palmdale, Calif.; Meridian, Miss.; Marietta, Ga.; and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as at Boeing's plant in Seattle, Wash. Final assembly and initial flight testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta plant facilities.
"The F/A-22 Raptor's unmatched features -- stealth, supercruise speed, supportability, enhanced agility, along with advanced integrated avionics -- are proving that this means unmatched capabilities for combatant commanders to employ to shorten wars and save lives. That's what makes this aircraft relevant for the next four decades," said Lawson.
Couldn't they have been air-to-air operational years ago. All this delay over JDAMs? Lets go test them over Iran and Syria, live fire of course.
Please waste my time.
BOUT F*ING TIME
now lockheed can release the hiring freeze on the F22 program and I can get my F22 configuration management job that they want to offer me but cannot due to it..