U.S. Air Force accepts final F‑22 Raptor

MARIETTA, Ga. (AFNS) — Senior Air Force offi­cials attend­ed a cer­e­mo­ny here May 2 com­mem­o­rat­ing the deliv­ery of the final F‑22 Rap­tor to the ser­vice.

A crowd that includ­ed Air Force lead­er­ship, sen­a­tors and con­gres­sion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tives, exec­u­tives and plant per­son­nel from the Lock­heed Mar­tin Aero­nau­tics Cor­po­ra­tion attend­ed a cer­e­mo­ny ded­i­cat­ing the deliv­ery of the final F‑22 Rap­tor in Mari­et­ta, Ga., May 2, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Peek)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Nor­ton Schwartz was joined by Sen. John­ny Isak­son of Geor­gia and oth­er indus­try, Air Force and civil­ian lead­ers as they were wel­comed to Dob­bins Air Reserve Base and the Lock­heed Mar­tin Mari­et­ta plant for the event.

The final deliv­ery com­pletes the Air Force’s fleet of 195 F‑22s. The Rap­tor is a key com­po­nent of the Glob­al Strike Task Force and is unmatched by any fight­er air­craft due to its speed, stealth and maneu­ver­abil­i­ty, accord­ing to Air Force offi­cials.

Dur­ing his remarks at the cer­e­mo­ny, Schwartz said the deliv­ery rep­re­sents an impor­tant ele­ment in the Air Force’s over­all mod­ern­iza­tion effort.

“Thank you to all of the part­ners in indus­try and gov­ern­ment that made this occa­sion a real­i­ty,” the gen­er­al said. “I espe­cial­ly want to pay trib­ute to the line work­ers and engi­neers whose tech­ni­cal exper­tise, atten­tion to detail and com­mit­ment to our nation’s defense trans­formed an inno­v­a­tive notion into America’s first 5th gen­er­a­tion fight­er air­craft.”

When it was time to unveil the final F‑22, the hangar doors rose and cheers from the assem­bled guests and work­ers erupt­ed.

Robert Stevens, Lock­heed Mar­tin chair­man and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer, said the very exis­tence of the F‑22 has altered the strate­gic land­scape for­ev­er.

“It is also fair to say that, along the way, the F‑22 has had a fair num­ber of chal­lenges and a fair num­ber of crit­ics,” Stevens said. “But let’s not fail to take note today of the num­ber of nations, who rank among either com­peti­tors or adver­saries, who are fran­ti­cal­ly try­ing to repli­cate what you have done.”

The final F‑22, tail num­ber 4195, will be flown to its new unit at Joint Base Elmen­dorf-Richard­son near Anchor­age, Alas­ka.

U.S. Air Force