F-22 Raptor Production Ends as Final Fighter Rolls Off Production Line
December 14, 2011 4:04 PM
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The Final F-22: 4195
(Source: Lockheed Martin)
Final F-22 will be delivered next year
The F-22 Raptor has faced many challenges this year, which just so happens to be the final year the aircraft will be produced. The F-22 has had a number of issues, most notably the problem with the fighter's onboard oxygen generation system that has caused hypoxia like symptoms in some pilots.
The aircraft were placed on stand-down for months while an investigation was conducted. That investigating ultimately failed to find the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms of some pilots and the aircraft were
returned to duty
with some restrictions months later.
With the aircraft off stand-down, Lockheed Martin was able to start the assembly line in Marietta, Georgia rolling again. Thanks to the
, the final F-22 rolled off the assembly line on December 13 bringing the procurement of the fighter program to a close. The final Raptor -- the
187th to roll off the assembly line
-- has tail number 4195 and still has to undergo company and USAF flight-testing before it is delivered. After flight testing the aircraft will have its stealth coating applied.
The last Raptor will be delivered to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The Raptor will replace one that the squadron stationed their lost in a fatal accident.
With the final Raptor now complete, the Marietta production line will now be crated up and stored. Lockheed hopes that in the future the F-22 program might be reinstated and production can start again.
"It's sad to see the end of the Raptor, but given the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the state of the economy, it stood little chance," said analyst Richard Aboulafia at the Teal Group, Fairfax, Va. He also said, "Given the potential of the aircraft, the line preservation efforts, and an uncertain strategic picture, it could one day follow the C-5 or B-1 and be reborn in a few years."
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RE: This is what bugs me about the military
12/15/2011 1:14:36 PM
Good points. My complaint though was why we stop producing them and scrap the machines that built them? The problem I have with this idea is that we know eventually we'll need new planes either from war or age or some other reason so why limit the production to what ever the government decides to buy? True you cant keep the machines around for 50+ years but how much more expensive are limited production runs of cars? Oh they only made 1001 of this muscle car 30 years ago? You have one in mint condition? Only asking a million for it? deal! That sort of thing. Economics of scale help out too. If you need to replace all of your F15's and F16's with F22's and F35's eventually the price of making them goes down. Then replacing them even later will be cheaper than designing, prototyping, testing, tweaking and selling to the government, an all new plane.
Two examples that I can think of about upgrading old designs are the AH-1z and the B-52h. According to wikipedia "B-52s are periodically refurbished at USAF maintenance depots such as Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Even while the Air Force works on its Next-Generation Bomber and 2037 Bomber projects, it intends to keep the B-52H in service until 2045, more than 90 years after the B-52 entered service and an unprecedented length of service for a military aircraft." So with plans to keep a plane in service for damned near a century I think we can make some new ones.
I do agree that we need to upgrade but we didnt replace all of our bombers with B2's and we didnt replace all of our fighters with drones (though that's probably gonna happen eventually). I also agree that the 15 and 16 are wearing out faster than expected but they are war planes that do 6+G turns... over the course of 40 years that will create lots of micro-cracks and stress fractures in the airframe (imagine what's going on in the BUFF's wings). I love the F22 but if youre gonna make a replacement aircraft you should probably replace the entire fleet (is that the right term?) of them rather than what 1/4? That's why Im saying keep the production equipment at hand and let the engineers figure out the minutia of the issues they come across (will of course require tests and checks before they release their first one)so that we arent hamstrung when we lose large chunks of aircraft in that eventual war with china.
They have an aircraft carrier now did you know that? They showed the picture either today or yesterday... then there was that F22 knock off jet. They are gearing up for something. Might not be for a decade or two but mark my words they are up to something and I dont just mean currency manipulation. Damned commies.
RE: This is what bugs me about the military
12/15/2011 11:34:22 PM
What they are gearing up for is the taking of Taiwan, which they will eventually do, whether its 5 years or fifty.
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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