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  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
No more F-22 Raptors after final aircraft was delivered

Lockheed Martin has announced that it has delivered the final F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter to the United States Air Force (USAF). The final fighter is the 195th F-22 Raptor to be built. Lockheed held the ceremony for the final aircraft delivery with senior leaders from the aircraft manufacturer, USAF, local, state, and national elected officials.
“There is no longer any nation that wishes us ill or any adversary who wishes us harm that has any doubt that their actions will have consequences – that they will be held to account and that our response will be undeterred,” said Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman and CEO. “The very existence of this airplane – your airplane – has altered the strategic landscape forever.”
The aircraft will join the USAF 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. F-22 fighters are currently assigned to seven USAF bases around the world. Lockheed Martin notes that the F-22 is the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter.
The F-22 is a very impressive fighter capable of flying at supersonic speeds without afterburners (supercruise) and attacking both air and ground targets. The development and production of the F-22 fleet has cost over $74 billion according to the GAO. The F-22s in use right now require more than $11 billion and modernization work through 2017.
General Michael Hostage, the head of air combat command, recently said that a small number of pilots are actually refusing to fly the F-22. The refusal to fly has do with the fact that the Air Force and Lockheed Martin have so far been unable to determine the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms some pilots experience while flying the aircraft.
The F-22 fleet was placed on stand down leaving pilots unable to fly for a number of months while the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms were investigated. Ultimately, the fleet of Raptors was returned to the skies with no official determination on cause of some pilot issues.

Sources: Defense News, Lockheed Martin

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RE: F-22A
By Bubbacub on 5/3/2012 1:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
do you really believe the usa is at risk of being invaded by another country?

we arn't living in the fifties/sixties anymore. the generation of psychopaths who fought WW2 and were behind cold war military planning are dead or retired. no major power has the stomach for all out war any more - everybody wants to live and reap the benefits of a consumer orientated capitalist society - even the communists in china want this now, though they might not openly say so!

the need for high tech weaponry is for power projection rather than defence of an unassailable continent.

p.s. im not saying that power projection is bad btw - its realistic that bigger more powerful societies can use force or the threat of force to get their way.

RE: F-22A
By AssBall on 5/3/2012 3:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
No one believes we are going to be invaded, that is why the comment was ignorant.

RE: F-22A
By Ringold on 5/3/2012 5:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
That's true of the US, for now. But not the rest of the world. Russia has taken a big step back from what looked like a bright democratic or republican (little r) future in the 90s and back towards autocracy. Can't tell the Georgians that they don't have to worry about invasion, or anyone else they border, especially if they get less and less stable.

Africa's also a basket case, and probably will remain so for decades. Invasions like the sort Somalia has seen (neighbors invading simply to defend their own borders from the chaos next door) should be expected.

China's also remained fairly calm, but who knows how they might behave in the future. Never forget it's a highly unstable communist system, with every succession a risk.

RE: F-22A
By Jeffk464 on 5/3/2012 10:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
Africa's also a basket case, and probably will remain so forever.

-- fixed

RE: F-22A
By catavalon21 on 5/3/2012 5:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the USA won't be, but gee, if little ole Iraq feel free to take on Kuwait <misguided or otherwise>, I wonder how China, with an incredibly competent military, who has QUADRUPLED its military budget over the last ten years, feels? Think they would have any qualms at all going after the sources of the bulk of the oil production on Earth if they really wanted too? Imagine what the USA would be doing if IT increased its defense budget fourfold in the last ten years...

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