Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor

      NEWS RELEASE: FORT WORTH, TEXAS - MARCH 19, 2001 - Assembly of the first operational
F-22 Raptor fighter began here today during a short ceremony attended by U.S. Air Force officials from Tyndall AFB, Fla.-- the future home of this particular next-generation aircraft.  "We're pleased to begin this, the 20th mid-fuselage we've built since the program began in 1991," Gary Keith, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics deputy program manager for the F-22 said during the event. "With each one, we've learned how to build them more quickly and more cost effectively.
     The F-22A Raptor is the world's first stealthy air dominance fighter, and is capable of multiple missions. Deadly and unseen at long range, unmatched at close-in dogfighting, and with superb, precision ground attack capabilities, the F-22 will dominate the skies over any future battlefield.  It is being built by Lockheed Martin (and Boeing as principal subcontractor, with engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney) for the U.S. Air Force. It is currently in the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase. To date, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has built 19 F-22 mid-fuselages. The first 11 we're used by the program's flight or ground-test aircraft. Three more mid-fuselages were built for the program's Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTVs), test airplanes that will later join the U.S. Air Force's operational inventory. LM Aero is currently assembling five additional PRTV mid-fuselages, and all will be finished during 2001.
      The Air Force plans to field 339 Raptors during the next decade to replace its fleet of F-15 Eagles. The first Raptor squadron is scheduled to be operational in 2005.