Lockheed Martin and Boeing have completed all F-22 test milestones originally established for this year. These include engine runs of the third development aircraft. Updated software has been delivered for the Boeing 757 avionics flying testbed.

The milestones had been established as prerequisites for a US Department of Defense decision to proceed into low-rate initial production (LRIP). That decision has been postponed by changes in the F-22 programme imposed by the US Congress (Flight International, 13-19 October).

Successful Pratt & Whitney F119 runs in Raptor 4003 in October followed earlier milestone achievements by the two F-22s in flight test: demonstration of supersonic cruise beyond Mach 1.5 and flight beyond 60° angle-of-attack.

Delivery of updated Block 2 avionics software will allow Boeing to begin flight testing sensor fusion using the F-22's radar, communication/navigation/identification and electronic warfare systems installed in a 757 airliner. Initial testing will focus on missile launch detector performance.

The restructured development programme will involve additional milestones next year before an LRIP decision can be taken.

Source: Flight International