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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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