Dousing Claims of a Raptor Design “Flaw”

Reports of a flaw in the aft fuselage design of the F-22A Raptor prompted Congressional Research Service analyst Christopher Bolkcom to tell a Senate armed services subcommittee Tuesday that the Air Force’s failure to adequately track the F-22A progress exposes the program to “risk.” The Air Staff military deputy for acquisition, Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, countered that the flaw was the result of a “misapplied” standard that calls for the titanium in the forward aft boom to be heat-treated to aid in conduction of the massive amount of heat radiated through the aft portion of the fighter. He maintained, “We have not restricted the aircraft and do not believe it is a safety issue.” Hoffman concurred with the assessment by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) that “the design is completely stable.”