Once complete with post-production preparations and flights, aircraft 4041 will be accepted by the Air Force and delivered to the 1st Fighter Wing's 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., for use as a combat dedicated aircraft. Previously delivered F/A-22s are now being flown by Air Force pilots at Edwards, Nellis and Tyndall Air Force Bases for pilot training, tactics and testing to support the growing fleet.
More than a year ago, parts from nearly 1,000 suppliers and sub-assembly facilities across 43 states began arriving at the Marietta plant as ship 4041 began its journey through the final assembly process. The production of an F/A-22 represents a tremendous effort, culminating in a transformational and revolutionary aircraft.
"All of this work is for one reason, to maintain America's air dominance role for decades to come," said Rob Weiss, deputy vice president for F/A-22 Business Development.
The Raptor's combination of stealth, integrated avionics, maneuverability and supercruise (supersonic flight without afterburner) gives the F/A-22 "first-look, first-shot, first-kill" capability against any potential enemy aircraft and anti-access surface-to-air threats. The F/A-22 is designed to provide not just air superiority but to shorten wars and save lives.
Raptor 4041 will arrive at Langley in early 2005. The squadron will enter initial operational capability later in the year.
"As we roll out the first combat dedicated F/A-22 Raptor, we know its lethality, technological advances and superior performance will be placed in the hands of the best airmen and warriors on the planet," Weiss said, as he addressed 1st Fighter Wing representatives and Lockheed Martin production line employees. "May its presence alone provide deterrence ... but if deterrence fails, we know it will provide a level of air dominance never seen in history."
The 1st Fighter Wing has a long history serving as a leader in air superiority and stands ready for the arrival of the first F/A-22 Raptor. The 27th Fighter Squadron is the oldest fighter squadron in the United States Air Force. As one of three squadrons of the 1st Fighter Wing, the squadron is tasked to perform air superiority missions. The 27th Fighter Squadron is also the first squadron at Langley to receive the F/A-22.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, research and development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F/A-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, C-5, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2. The company produces major components for the F-2 fighter, and is a co-developer of the C-27J tactical transport and T-50 advanced jet trainer.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2003 sales of $31.8 billion.
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SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
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