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F-22 Raptor Completes Fifth and Final Flight Test Requirement for 1999



MARIETTA, Ga.--- The Air Force's new air superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, reached another important milestone Wednesday, Sep. 15, by satisfying the fifth and final flight-test requirement established by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Air Force for calendar year 1999.
Raptor 4001, the first F-22 built, completed a three-hour sortie in which flutter envelope expansion and vibro-acoustic wind up-turns were accomplished over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The flight represented the fighter's first substantial entry envelope-expansion zone E-4 and satisfied the remaining DoD flight-test criteria for 1999.
"The F-22 achieved all 1999 flight-performance criteria more than 3 months ahead of schedule,'' said Lt. Col. C.D. Moore, F-22 Combined Test Force commander at Edwards. "This is a tribute to a great aircraft, a first class test team, and outstanding support from across the program.''
All prescribed flight-test requirements for 1999 needed to be met before a Defense Acquisition Board's (DAB) F-22 program review scheduled for December of this year. The DAB will determine if the F-22 is ready for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) -- building production fighters that will be flown in the field by operational fighter pilots.
In addition to flight in zone E-4, this year's DoD flight-test program criteria also included: flying at an altitude of 50,000 feet; opening side and main weapons bay doors in flight; demonstrating high angle-of-attack post- stall flight with thrust vectoring; and supercruise -- flying at 1.5 Mach or greater without afterburner.
"The F-22 enterprise team has successfully achieved another important program milestone, but we're still not out of the woods for 1999,'' said Brig. Gen. Michael Mushala, F-22 System Program Office director. "There are several other DoD program criteria that need to be successfully completed. The Air Force and contractor team is working extremely hard to execute this program and deliver our promise to the American people.''
In all, nine major program criteria were agreed on by the Air Force and DoD for the calendar year. Items that have been completed include:
* Conduct Flight Testing on EMD Aircraft 4001 and 4002 (Includes all five flight-test criteria. Completed September 1999)
* Engine Full Flight Release (Completed August 1999)
* Critical Design Review for Avionics Block 3.0 (Completed September 1999)
* Avionics Integration Laboratory (AIL) Integration of Operational Flight Program Block 1.1 Software and Deliver to Manufacturing (Completed May 1999)
* EMD Aircraft 4004 Fuselage, Wing and Empennage Mate (Completed September 1999)

Items that have yet to be completed include:
* Initial Radar Cross-section Full-Scale Pole Model Testing
* Static Test Design Limit Load Cases on Critical Structure
* Release Avionics Block 2 Software to the Flying Test Bed
* EMD Aircraft 4003 Flight Preparation up through Installed Engine Runs

According to F-22 program officials, the remaining criteria are on schedule to be completed before the DAB in December.

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F-22 Raptor Completes Fifth and Final Flight Test Requirement for 1999