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757 prepared for F-22 testbed

Boeing has flown its flight-test 757 to Wichita, Kansas, for modification into an avionics development testbed for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 air-superiority fighter. The 757 will be fitted with an F-22 forward fuselage, under construction at Lockheed Martin's Marietta site in Georgia. The aft section of the same fuselage will be used for ballistic tests. The nose section will house the Northrop Grumman APG-77 radar, on which tests will begin following completion of the modification in August 1997. A "sensor wing" - containing the F-22's electronic-warfare, communication, navigation and identification sensors - will also be installed on the crown of the fuselage behind the flightdeck. This is scheduled for installation around August 1998, with avionics testing due to begin the following October. The wing, which simulates the positions of sensors on the F-22 wing, will have an 8.5m span. The extended nose will increase overall length by almost 2.7m. Boeing says that the 757, the first built, will also be used for "piggyback" avionics tests for its Joint Strike Fighter demonstrator.

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