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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 production restart, 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."
 

Source: DefenseNews





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