LAST RAPTOR ARRIVES AT JBER
The last manufactured F-22 Raptor fighter, flown by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Moga, 525th Fighter Squadron commander, touches down May 5 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
AP Photo/David Bedard/U.S. Air Force
The final F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets built for the U.S. Air Force rolled off the Lockheed Martin assembly line in December and was delivered to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on May 5.
Lt. Col. Paul Moga flew the jet non-stop from Marietta, Ga., and said the jet handled superbly during the eight-hour flight, which included two midair refuels.
The star-crossed jet is a modern engineering marvel capable of exceeding Mach 2 speeds and evading enemy radar, but production delays and cost overruns defined its early history. The 190 jets produced for the Air Force ended up costing about $412 million each.
More recently, the oxygen-generation system problems reportedly causing dizziness for pilots that grounded the planes for four months last year are still unresolved.\
The F-22 didn’t see action in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it has recently been deployed to the Middle East. Reports are the F-22s have been deployed to a base in the United Arab Emirates, although the Air Force won’t officially confirm that.
“People pay attention to where this airplane goes and what it does because, regardless of the furor in the press and public about the suitability or safety of the airplane, they’re very worried about its capability,” said Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, Commander of Combat Command in Hampton, Va., on April 30. “That, to me, means we’re on the right path with this capability.”