It has been dubbed the world's best air dominance fighter, but when the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor finally entered flight testing in the late 1990s the world had already moved on from the Cold War and the USA was preparing for different kinds of threats. With the last of 187 aircraft ordered by the US Air Force having rolled off the production line, the cover story of Flight International's 3-9 April issue is a Raptor retrospective in which our newly recruited hotshot US military reporter Dave Majumdar delves into the programme's history, assesses the stealth fighter's significance and examines the role the F-22 is to play over the decades it will remain in service.
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This issue also brings no fewer than three in-depth show reports, from the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, FIDAE in Santiago, and the Asian Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Shanghai.
Elsewhere in news: China's national aircraft manufacturer plans to produce an entire family of business jets in the country by the end of the decade; sanction-hit Iran Air has acquired the first of three Boeing 747-300s it is purchasing from Al-Sayegh Airlines; Atlantic Airways has carried out Europe's first required navigation approach on a commercial flight; and Embraer has revealed that it is considering a return to the turboprop market.
In our business pages, meanwhile, we look over the first decade of operations at European guided weapons manufacturer MBDA.
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Source: Flight International