The Raptor Clock Runs Down

With just 28 F-22s left to deliver, Lockheed Martin is starting to wrap up the aircraft’s production line in Marietta, Ga., say company program officials. The remaining 13 mid-fuselage assemblies still in work will be completed by April 2011, and the last of 13 aft fuselages in the following month. In June of 2011, the final 15 wing sets will be finished, and by November 2011—just 13 months from now—the last Raptor will exit the production line. Delivery of that final F-22 will follow in February 2012, after workers apply its paint, verify its functions, and install its engines. The company reports that it remains ahead of schedule in delivering F-22s, and that the aircraft produced continue to be of “consistently high quality.” The last F-22 will have tail number 195, taking into account developmental test aircraft. USAF is actually fielding a force of 186 F-22s. Lockheed has USAF’s approval to preserve F-22 tooling until the service builds a plan to sustain the aircraft, which will require spare parts and assemblies.