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: US could have sold to allies.
12/15/2011 10:45:56 PM
And congress was wise to do so. Some things we should always keep to ourselves. Our best gear should always stay -our- best gear.
Even if we can trust our allies to not turn our weapons against us, we can't control if the tech is stolen from them because they are not as competent at us with counter intelligence. Or if our relationship sours with them in the future (treaty dispute of any kind) and our "allies" give the technological secrets to a state we can't trust, like China. No matter how you slice it, giving them our cutting edge gives THEM leverage over us, even if they won't use the weapon directly against us. Diplomacy is a tricky, fickle beast.
Never, ever give out your best gear, because once it's beyond your control you don't know who else will get their hands on it, study it, exploit it, or even improve it, and eliminate all you technological edge. And as we've seen throughout all history, technological edge is one of if not the most important aspect in military superiority.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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