Released: 9 Apr 1999
Raptor 02, which had just completed a series of planned modifications, executed a flawless take off. Objectives of the flight were to validate flying qualities, perform flutter testing and accomplish transient engine power setting tests. The flight was done at 50,000 feet. All flight objectives were accomplished satisfactorily.
Since the first of the year, the majority of tests on the F-22 have been structural ground tests focusing on maintenance and logistics. To date, the F-22 test team is ahead of its overall flying hour program by 25 percent, ahead of programmed maintenance test point accomplishment by 20 percent and nearly 15 percent ahead of its logistics test program. Assuming this trend continues, Aeronautical Systems Center officials believe the F-22 test program will go on record as one of the most effective in the center's history.
"Having Raptor 02 fly again, after three months of scheduled modifications and ground testing, shows what great people working hard for a great program can do," said Brig. Gen. Michael Mushala, F-22 program director.
Over the next year, the F-22 will face several major test milestones. These include "supercruise", or sustained flight at or above 1.5 Mach without the use of an afterburner; post-stall maneuvering using thrust vectoring; validation of weapons loads with both weapons bays open; and maneuvering to the limits of the aircraft's design specifications.
Raptor 01 will perform tests involving high speed, while Raptor 02 will perform tests involving high angle of attack and thrust vectoring at low speed. Both post-stall maneuvering and supercruise are performance hallmarks of the F-22.
Currently, there are only two F-22s and both are based here. A third Raptor should join the test program by 2000.
The F-22 is designed to be the most advanced fighter in the world, combining a revolutionary leap in technology and capability with reduced support requirements and maintenance costs. It will replace the F-15 as America's frontline air superiority fighter, with deliveries to operational units beginning in 2002. Lockheed Martin and Boeing jointly manufacture the F-22. Pratt & Whitney manufactures the aircraft's engines.
* F-22 Raptor Watch
* Aeronautical Systems Center
* Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.