My article on the last Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, Tail10-4195, being delivered to the US Air Force is finally up.
When the jet leaves Mariettaon Friday and flies home to Elmendorf, it will join the 525th FighterSquadron–commanded by Lt Col Paul “Max” Moga–as the squadron’s flagship.Accompanying it will be 10-4193, which will become the new 3rd Wingflagship.
USAF Photo- they had a much better camera than I did… I used a Blackberry.
While the two jets are the newest in the fleet, they won’tbe Elmendorf’s most capable Raptors. The new aircraft are currently equippedwith the Increment 2 configuration and will be upgraded with Increment 3.1 later.
The 3rd Wing already has 10 Increment 3.1-equippedjets.
Meanwhile, the USAF is deferring adding an Automatic GroundCollision Avoidance System and full Small Diameter Bomb capability on the forthcomingIncrement 3.2B upgrade. The service already deleted the Multi-function Advanced Data-Link(MADL), which would have allowed the F-22 to share data with the F-35, years ago.
Deferring the Auto-GCAS seems troubling. Adding that featurewas a specific recommendation by the USAF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)looking into the Raptor’s oxygen system woes.
Given that SAB recommendation, the USAF might consider coughingup the cash to integrate Auto-GCAS sooner rather than later. It probably wouldhave saved at least two lives–those of Captain Jeff Haney and Lockheed Martintest pilot David Cooley.