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F-22 Raptor still suffers overweight problems

The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor advanced tactical fighter continues to exceed its target weight, but is meeting all of its performance specifications, says Paul Schlein, Lockheed Martin's F-22 deputy air-vehicle product manager.

The weight is expected to increase slightly as the engineering and manufacturing development programme continues, but aircraft performance is such that the growth can be handled, he adds.

The F-22 is about the size of the Boeing F-15, carries all its weapons internally, plus more fuel and its support equipment on board, but weighs not much more than the F-15.

Weight is not a design requirement, but it needs to be kept to a minimum to meet the performance specification and to reduce cost. Schlein says that the F-22 is now about 90-140kg heavier than it should be, but he insists that "weight is not a serious issue."

Schlein says that weight-reduction efforts have been shelved in favour of pursuing producibility enhancements in a bid to reduce cost. Tom Burbage, the F-22 programme general-manager, has said that the weight is steady, and will not come down without additional funding.