Operational tests of the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 have been integrated into the aircraft's initial developmental testing phase at Edwards AFB, California.

"Rather than waiting until much later in the process of testing the F-22, we have started operational testing as early as possible," says Lt Col David Nelson, F-22 combined test force (CTF) operational flight test director.

To make the change, members of the fighter evaluation team at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Edwards have joined the CTF.

As a direct result of the operational team's early involvement, the instrument panel has been redesigned. The improvements are expected to help the F-22 pass key operational tests in 2002.

Source: Flight International