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  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Last F-22 set to be delivered next spring

Both of the USAF premier fighters have been plagued with significant issues over the last few years. The F-35 is back on track to some extent after numerous delays, even though some are calling for slowdowns in production of the aircraft. The F-22 is in full production, but that production has been problematic, as have existing aircraft.
The F-22 has been having problems with its onboard oxygen generation system that results at times in hypoxia-like symptoms for the pilots. The aircraft were on stand-down for a while, but that stand-down was lifted and the aircraft are back in the air. That means that aircraft that Lockheed had produced, but couldn't deliver are now heading to their final USAF homes.
That also means that the production line for the F-22 is back in full swing. Lockheed spokeswoman Alison Orne said, "We are delivering jets. The last one delivered was 4185. 4195 will be delivered in late spring 2012."
Lockheed also pointed out that while airframe 4185 was technically delivered, it was still undergoing flight-testing. After those tests are complete, the F-22 will be flown to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia where it will be based. The spokeswoman stated that the F-22 would be flown to Langley on December 8.
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor production line. [Source: Lockheed Martin] 

The last F-22 that will be built will roll off the assembly line and be delivered in the spring of 2012. That aircraft will be stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska and is set to fly with the 3rd Wing.
In October of 2011 after the F-22 was returned to flight status, a wing commander in Virginia placed his fleet of F-22 Raptors on stand-down after another incident where the oxygen generation system of the aircraft was suspected of fault. As of now, no solution has been found to the problems the F-22 and its pilots are experiencing.

Source: Defense News

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RE: They should build more of these.
By 91TTZ on 12/7/2011 3:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
I agree somewhat. I think that the "cheaper, reduced capability" F-35 should be canceled since its price has risen to the point of the "expensive, full capability" F-22. It was originally supposed to be something like 1/3 to 1/2 the cost, and that low cost would have the additional benefit of increased commonality between versions meaning reduced supply-line overhead. Now it's something like 90% of the cost, and that applies to ALL the versions!

However, the VTOL and carrier variants can't be scrapped since the F-22 can't do those jobs. The carrier variant is replacing the F-18 and the VTOL variant is replacing the Harrier.

If they could have pulled it off and replaced 3 different fighter programs with 1 common fighter program, it would have been worth it. The F-16, Harrier, and F-18 would be replaced with the F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C, respectively. However, the cost has ballooned so much that it's no longer worth it. You could have paid for 3 simpler fighter programs that were specialized for their intended purpose instead of making an overly elaborate, jack of all trades that's meant to replace 3 inexpensive fighters. What we ended up with is an overpriced master of none.

By Solandri on 12/7/2011 4:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
At this point it's a white elephant. So rare that you can't get rid of it, but so big and expensive that keeping it is killing you.

The F-35 will become a case study in how trying to reduce costs by consolidating different products to share parts, can actually cause costs to increase.

By SunLord on 12/7/2011 6:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
At this point it probably would of been better to develop a F-22 variant with a larger bomb load out or spent time developing a stealth friendly pylon system that would blend into the F-22 given the price per plane would drop as we build more plus it would be a far more useful fighter for the air force.

We should of just built a dedicated VTOL F-35 for the Marines since the F-22 should of cleared the skies so all it would need to do is focus on stealth for facing ground based systems since it's most likely to be used for Ground support then anything sneaky where a B-2 and a F-22 would be the best options. Hell the F-18E is probably twice as stealthy as a Harrier.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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