January 29/21: Structural Repair Program The Air Force, along with with partners Lockheed Martin and Boeing, completed work on the last of 247 planes in the F-22 Structural Repair Program, officials at Hill Air Force Base in Utah announced on Wednesday. Structural modifications, made by the 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, to the F-22 Raptor added flying serviceability of the fighter plane by an estimated 8,000 hours, according to the Air Force.
The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.
Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.
This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.
Displaying 296 of 38,730 words (about 97 pages)
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)