USAF Declares Initial Operational Capability For Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor


MARIETTA, Ga., December 15, 2005 -- Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] F-22A Raptor, the world’s only 5th generation fighter aircraft, surpassed a monumental milestone today when the United States Air Force declared that the Raptor has reached initial operational capability.

General Ronald E. Keys, Commander of Air Combat Command, made the historic announcement at Langley Air Force Base, Va., from a Raptor hangar near his headquarters. “The F-22A fulfills a long quest to bring 5th generation capabilities of stealth, supercruise, and precision to the warfighter today and for decades to come,” said General Keys in an Air Force news release. “If we go to war tomorrow, the Raptor will go with us.”

The Air Force is now capable of deploying and supporting 12 F-22A Raptor aircraft anywhere in the world to execute air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The Raptor is also qualified to perform homeland defense missions when required.

“It’s another great day for our nation, the Air Force and certainly for the Raptor industry team,” said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president and F-22 general manager. “Thousands of workers in 42 states throughout our nation can take great pride in the fact that we not only met the customer’s requirements, but we exceeded these expectations and produced a revolutionary fighter aircraft for our country. The Raptor is the very first supersonic, stealth fighter that incorporates capabilities never before possible in one weapons system and in the words of the Air Force, achieves ‘overwhelming’ performance.”

“This day culminates the great work of a dedicated, nation-wide industry team,” said Ralph D. Heath, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and executive vice president of Lockheed Martin. “Lockheed Martin is honored to be part of this historic milestone and is proud to serve the Air Force and the U.S. government. The American people can rest assured that this industry team produced an aircraft that can meet the challenges our country has to face for the next 40 years, and that provides the ultimate safety possible for the men and women who fly it.”

“This has been a great year for the Raptor program,” said Lawson. “We had excellent news early in 2005 with results of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). More good news followed in March when the Department of Defense approved the Raptor for full rate production. The Air Force had a successful deployment of eight Raptors in October to Hill Air Force Base. We look forward to the final report for Follow-On Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) as flying is complete. All of these accomplishments are significant milestones for the program. We’ve completed final assembly on 67 of the 107 revolutionary stealthy aircraft presently on contract. In short, the F-22A program is healthy, solid and on track – with superb production and solid aircraft performance.”
The F-22 Raptor, the world's most advanced 5th generation fighter, is built by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney. Approximately 1,000 suppliers in 42 states provide parts and subsystems. F-22 production takes place at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities in Palmdale, Calif.; Meridian, Miss.; Marietta, Ga.; and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as at Boeing's plant in Seattle, Wash. Final assembly and initial flight testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta plant facilities.

We kinda posted the same thing phoneix :p

Oh well good to get information from more than once source anyway.
There is still a chance Rummy is going to kill the program or at least severely curtail it. We will see what happens...
mmarsh said:
There is still a chance Rummy is going to kill the program or at least severely curtail it. We will see what happens...

I seriously hope not. You can just move the F-15Es over to ground-attack and let the F-22s take over the air superiority job. Everyone's got work and no one has to go to the scrap heap.

To shut down the F-22 at this point in the game would be a seriously shortsighted move. America wins wars only because of air dominance.
It all hinges on the JSF. The F-22A is a remarkable plane no doubt about that but at $130-180, even for the loose purses of the Bush Administration, all I can say is ouch! The other problem was that it was designed with the ability to go deep in enemy air space with a heavy Air Defence system. But with the fall of the Soviet Union, the need of having a 'stealth' fighter is mooted. Also the AF seems very interested in drones, You will see drones capable of doing the AA role within the next decade or so. No need for a pilot, and they are expendable.

If the JSF can do a comparable job in the air superiority role than the F-22A becomes a costly burden. If the JSF is proven inferior to what the Europeaners, Chinese, and Russians are cooking up then I think think they will go ahead with production, at least on a limited scale.
Well there's two things there mmarsh.

The first is I think you overstate the ability of American developers to field weapons. Sure we've got UAV ideas on the page, but air-combat UAVs arn't going to be fielded in a long time. Same deal with the F-35. By the time it's actually operational we'll already be a good way into F-22 production.

The second part is that I think you underestimate the American political will to take casualties. If you've got a stealth fighter that is basically invincible, politicians love that. They can go in and shoot things down to make pretty CNN footage without losing American lives in the process. Everyone from Bush to Clinton to Bush W. just couldn't help but use stealth technology and there's no reason for future presidents not to desire it.
It has beaten the F-15 in race has more firepower than 2 F-15's combined

Ive seen all kinds of things on how it stacks up against the F-15s.

Went up against 8 F-15Cs and won.

Flew over there cockpit without being detected on radar.

If true those are some mighty impressive feats.
mmarsh said:
There is still a chance Rummy is going to kill the program or at least severely curtail it. We will see what happens...

I think the Air Force can pull a sheet over his head and hold it there for three more years. The Air Force knows what it needs and they will not give up on the Raptor without one hell of a fight, I am confident the Air Force can figure out a way to keep Rummy in the dark for a few years, seems the CIA and Army managed it once, I am sure the Air Force will not let themselves be outstaged.
Rabs, you're not only correct but it's even more powerful than that. The history channel did a special on the F-22 where they interviewed the pilots in the first sqadrons.

The pilots said that when they, the F-22 pilots, where in F-15s against one F-22. The F-22 would constantly and consistaintly kill all 5 F-15s before the F-15s could even see them. And this was regardless of tactics used and with F-22 pilots in the F-15 seats.

I would feel very very bad for a poor poor SU-27 pilot who has some 350 F-22s over his airspace.
Hurray for yet another repeat of the same topic. This one, however, wins the prize for most descriptive title for the announcment.

Yeah, I'm greatly looking forward to seeing more and more of the Raptor. We're entering a period where the USA will have the best fighter in the world by a substantial margin (until somebody invents and mass produces something comparable.) It should also be interesting to hear about if there are any bugs or flaws to work out of the system. Many such things seldom become obvious until a fighter is put into service.

So what's the ETA on the JSF?
No poopoo on this one.

An Air Force friend of my son's is visiting my son for Christmas. What's unusual about this is the fact that he just came from the F22A Raptor test site.

He volunteered for service in Afghanistan in a "general" billet but was hoping that he'd be able to swing transfer to a Raptor "line" unit at the completion of his Afghan tour. At present, according to him, there are three sites that have operational F22A Raptors and there are still four Raptors at the test site.

We were talking about some of the "unclassified" capabilities of the F22A and the following was some of the information he imparted:

Every single test phase of the combat capabilities of the Raptor were exceeded by such a large margin, that even some of the Raptor's most ardent supporters were astonished and some of the naysayers were won over.

One of the tests placed F16s at various altitudes with some of the most modern weapons radars and expert operators on the ground. Consistently, radar operators on the ground were able to spot, identify and target the F15s - not once did the operators manage to do more than get an intermittent blip of an F22A Raptor on their radar screens. (The Raptor had to be almost on top of a radar site and almost "on-the-deck" before a clear paint was observed on the radar screens).

It was almost a repeat when the F15s were pitted against F22As. Pilots of the F15s had so much trouble spotting F22As that they were constantly having to rely on the Mod 1 Eyeball for detection - their radars just weren't doing the job.

What makes the Raptor so radar invisible, is the fact that the weapons load is internal instead of being hung on the underside of the plane body and wing structure and that makes the body as slick as a baby's bottom. (I know it's more complex than that).

The Raptor's weapons load was described as being just as deadly as the payload of an F15.

Follow on "post test" verifications will be carried out as the operational tempo increases for the line units. As was pointed out - operational tempos have a tendency to bring out bugs that were missed during testing and clearly demonstrate the need for post test verifications.

The F22A Raptor has been described as an airborne weapons platform of tomorrow that is here today.


I tried to impart this as accurately as I could but was unable to find verification as to the accuracy of the information
Last edited:
I love this plane, it is truly a thing of beauty. The only thing bad I can really say about it is: Too expensive. I don't think we need as many as planned. CAS - low and slow, remember it head honchos! And that's not really a knock on the plane, just how it is misused.

I think what the Air Force really wants to do is put the F-15 into a close air support role while adopting the F-22 as the chief air superiority fighter.

Having said that don't listen to me, I don't actually have a clue what I am talking about, but dammit it sounded cool.
I think what the Air Force really wants to do is put the F-15 into a close air support role while adopting the F-22 as the chief air superiority fighter.

Having said that don't listen to me, I don't actually have a clue what I am talking about, but dammit it sounded cool.

Actually you just stated the USAF's goal. :)...I think
Hey I thought the F-15 are an old group of planes? My country just ordered a huge number of F-15S from US. I heard the JSF are also to be sold to those countries that participated in the development of it!
The F-15 is.... roughly 30 years old now but it is still better than anything any other nation can build, and that include Europe, Russia and China. It's now the world's second most deadly air superiority aircraft so even though it is "old" by some standards it is still a very deadly aircraft.

And as for the JSF, well, I don't hold as high of an opinion of that aircraft as I once did, I still think it is a great plane but it will be best suited for ground attack missions and right now we have a lot of planes to fill that role, I think it is a good thing for the Navy, they can finally replace the F-14 which is definetly starting to show its age, and this plane is smaller than the F-15 which is by naval fighter standards a behemoth. What I think the Airforce should do is continue to try and block Bush's in his attempts to phase out certain aircraft so as to make room for the JSF. Is there really a need to replace the F-16? Only a handful of countries can build anything to counter it. Like I said before, buy the Rapter and move the F-15 to ground attack, or have smaller numbers of F-22's and use them to knock out the enemy air defenses, then bring in the F-15's and F-16's to "mop up" the ground units.

But as I said earlier, the Air Force is not really my... forte(sp?) neither is the Navy, the only one branch I can really relate to is the Army because of the stories my grandpa told me about Korea and their version of "suicide bombers". And how the pay was like $105 a weekwith combat pay.
Damien435 said:
The F-15 is.... roughly 30 years old now but it is still better than anything any other nation can build, and that include Europe, Russia and China.

Better than the Typhoon? Why do you say that?
Doug97 said:
Better than the Typhoon? Why do you say that?

Umm..... blind patiotism? America and Israel have been extensively upgrading their fleets of F-15's and America has an unparalleled ability to reach out and hit the enemy from long ranges. Umm, other than that, patriotism mostly.

Could I justify it by citing the F-15's excellent track record in Iraq and Israel?