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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 Apone on 5/3/2012 3:44:47 PM , Rating: 0
@ gamerk2

- Good point, however the idea behind the concept of "Air Superiority" is quality, not quantity. In other words, let's say we are fighting China and their Air Force outnumbers ours in numbers. Well considering the F-22's stealth, maneuverability, and other innovative combat capabilities, it's highly probable that many of our F-22's would take out a significant amount of their fighters (since many of them are Russian MiGs with 1970's-80's technology) before we lose several of ours.

- And regarding mass production, that's why our existing fleet of F-15's, F-16's, UAV's, and F-18 fighters are available to compensate and complement any operational deficiencies of the F-22. Also I've heard that retired fighter planes such as the F-14 Tomcat, even though stripped down, have their bare shells in a reserve stockyard. In the event of an emergency, the shells can have all its parts quickly reassembled if it ever had to be called back into service.

RE: F-22A
By Ringold on 5/3/2012 5:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
In the event of an emergency, the shells can have all its parts quickly reassembled if it ever had to be called back into service.

That assumes compatible avionics and engines are easily and rapidly available, the more important pieces of the guts of such an aircraft that come to mind that are very sensitive, often model-specific in some way, and slow to reproduce. I'm reminded of NASA sourcing the occasional odd part from eBay simply because parts have been out of use for so long they're completely unavailable outside of collectors and the occasional trash bin.

Also, I'm reminded of the USS Cole. That thing was in drydock for YEARS after having a hole put in it. This isn't WW2 any more, where a carrier could have a plane-size hole tore through it, and a couple weeks off a shitty island and a lot of elbow-grease later and the flight decks open for business again. Any war of the future will pretty much be fought only with the forces on hand going in to it.

China's also working to modernize its forces rapidly, so can't assume an F22 would fly against a fleet of relics.

RE: F-22A
By Nfarce on 5/3/2012 7:53:10 PM , Rating: 1
1) Our F-15s (only the E model is still active duty in front line AF units, the single seat Cs are in the process of being put out to Reserve pasture) and 16s are reaching the end of their lives.

2) The Tomcat's parts from the mothballed aircraft at Davis-Montham were destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands, notibly Iran. The "hulls" themselves (the proper term) are slowly being destroyed (,2933,287757,00.html ).

3) We have to look into and think about the future; 10, 20, and even 40 years into it. The F-22's development started over 20 years ago and was designed to last 40 years (like the F-14/15/16s were designed to last 30+ years). It is already halfway through that.

4) We learned in 1938 not to get caught with our pants down, when few people believed that Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany would be a real threat to US soil and soil of our allies. At that time we still had fabric covered biplanes as front line Army AF and Navy fighters. We didn't win the first two years of either campaign because we were behind the power curve. With China and Russia, we can't afford to be behind again. And make no mistake, the day WILL come that we will have to address Chinese aggression, Russian aggression, or God forbid BOTH as allied forces.

RE: F-22A
By Steve1981 on 5/4/2012 12:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
We didn't win the first two years of either campaign because we were behind the power curve.

How do you figure that? Within six months of the attack of Pearl Harbor, the Kido Butai was dealt a pretty serious blow at the battle of Midway. Within fourteen months, the Japanese were withdrawing from Guadalcanal.

On the other side of the world, the battle of the Atlantic had decidedly turned against Germany by (Black) May of 1943. The Luftwaffe was on the defensive against Allied strategic bombing which had heavily firebombed Hamburg in late July of 1943.

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