Air Force News

F-22 meets fourth of five 1999 DOD flight-test criteria

Released: 1 Sep 1999

WRIGHT-PATTERSON, AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The Air Force's new air superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, flew in excess of 60 degrees angle of attack during flight testing Aug. 25, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., reaching another milestone and satisfying another flight-test requirement mandated by the Department of Defense.

The milestone, combined with extensive, high angle-of-attack maneuvering, completed the fourth of five flight-test criteria established by DOD and the Air Force for 1999. The flight-test criteria, along with other program requirements, must be completed successfully to demonstrate to defense department officials that the F-22 is ready for Low Rate Initial Production.

"We've met the requirement to demonstrate high angle of attack post-stall flight with thrust vectoring for the Defense Acquisition Board's program review later this year," said Brig. Gen. Michael Mushala, F-22 program director. "With only one more '99 flight-test requirement to meet, I'm confident that our team will rise to the challenge."

Mushala heads the F-22 System Program Office, which manages development of the Raptor here at Aeronautical Systems Center.

Flight-test criteria already met this year includes: flying at an altitude of 50,000 feet; opening side and main weapons bay doors in flight; and supercruise -- flying at 1.5 Mach or greater without afterburner. A fifth requirement, flight in specific, high-speed regions of the F-22's envelope, is expected to be completed before the Defense Acquisition Board convenes in December.

The DAB, chaired by Dr. Jaques Gansler, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, will determine if the F-22 program is mature enough to move to the LRIP phase of building fighters that will be flown in the field by operational line pilots.

Meeting the five prescribed flight-test criteria is necessary for the board to grant full contract award for the program's first six production F-22s, or Lot 1, and advanced-buy contract award for Lot 2, which represents 10 production F-22s.

So far, the program's two flight-test aircraft, located at the F-22's Combined Test Force at Edwards have flown more than 150 sorties and 330 hours; collected more than 4,500 ground and flight-test data-points; and demonstrated flight at 7 G's. The F-22 also made its first supersonic run at 1.2 Mach with weapons bay doors open, and the engine has remained stall-free throughout the high-alpha flight envelope explored to date.

"We're delighted with the results of the high angle-of-attack testing," said Tom Farmer, director of Pratt &Whitney's F119/F-22 program. "This test demonstrates that attention to engine stability and operability in the design phase has paid off. "

A third flight-test F-22 is expected to fly early next year. The fourth flight-test F-22, the first Raptor with its advanced avionics installed, is scheduled to fly next summer. In all, there will be nine flight-test F-22s in the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program.

The first six production F-22s will support operational test and evaluation at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The F-22, the Air Force's chosen replacement for the aging F-15 air superiority fighter, is being developed by ASC to counter lethal threats posed by advanced surface-to-air missile systems and next-generation fighters equipped with launch-and-leave missiles.


* F-22 Raptor Watch
* The F-22 Raptor
* Aeronautical Systems Center
* Brig. Gen. Michael Mushala
* Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
* Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
* Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio