More “FF” Tails

Visitors to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 production line at Marietta, Ga., last week saw aircraft in the bays with the “FF” tailcode, indicating they would belong to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Va. when delivered. But Langley has had its full complement of F-22s for several years. What gives? A senior production official explained that Langley has been consistently giving up its own Raptors to new basing locations such as Holloman AFB, NM, JB Elmendorf, Alaska, and JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. “Langley has been kind of a staging area” for new F-22s, said this official. Once shaken out at Langley, which is also practically the schoolhouse for maintenance, the aircraft move on to other bases. The ones currently on the production line will bring Langley back up to its full complement: about 40 airplanes. Eventually, Langley will also get six additional F-22s under the Raptor fleet’s consolidation plan.