F-22 Raptor over Alaska

Lockheed Martin’s in-house magazine, Code One, posted this photo that was taken when the first F-22 Raptors were being fielded at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, but more than half-a-decade has gone by since then.  Here you can see a Raptor (probably either tail 087 or 090–if memory serves) followed by a Boeing F-15C and F-15E.

f22f15cf15e.jpgBack in 2007, the US had a monopoly on fifth-gen fighters, but now Russia and China are working on their own stealth fighters. In fact, Vladimir Putin told Ria Novosti earlier today that the PAK-FA will in service with the Russian Air Force by 2016–which is one year behind the original schedule.

Meanwhile, the US Marine Corps intends to declare the Lockheed F-35B operational with the interim Block 2B software build in 2015 at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. The Pentagon hasn’t yet said exactly when the F-35A and C will be declared operational, but initial operational testing for the full Block 3F software is scheduled to be completed by 2019 according to the GAO.  

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