Air Force News

F-22 Raptor goes supersonic for first time

Released: 13 Oct 1998

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- In the skies over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the Air Force's newest fighter traveled faster than the speed of sound for the first time Oct. 10.

This event was the latest in a series of test milestones for the F-22 Raptor, which arrived at Edwards June 29.

Lockheed Martin test pilot John Beesley was flying tail No. 4001, the first Raptor produced, when it reached 1.1 Mach while flying at an altitude of 29,000 feet at approximately 3:25 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

"From all indications (from Beesley), the Raptor flew past the sound barrier with ease," said Lt. Col. C.D. Moore, commander of the F-22 Combined Test Force, minutes after the F-22 exceeded Mach 1.

"This is just one step of many for the program," said Moore.

Two weeks earlier, the second Raptor, tail No. 4002, achieved another major milestone for the program, sustaining a 24-degree angle-of-attack.

The F-22 is widely regarded as the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, combining a revolutionary leap in technology and capability with reduced support requirements and maintenance costs. It will replace the F-15 Eagle as America's front-line air superiority fighter, with deliveries to Air Combat Command units beginning in 2002.

The F-22's combination of stealth, super cruise -- supersonic flight without afterburner --and advanced avionics will give Raptor pilots a first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability against aircraft of a potential enemy.

At the end of the Oct. 10 flight, the two Raptors being tested at Edwards had flown a total of approximately 87 hours in 49 total flights.


* F-15 Eagle
* Air Combat Command
* Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.