The F-22 Raptor took off for the first time from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on Sep. 7, 1997, with F-22 chief test pilot Paul Metz at the controls
On Oct. 19, 2017, the F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) held a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) to commemorate the first flight of the F-22 Raptor which took place on Sep. 7, 1997. The fighter took off from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, with F-22 chief test pilot Paul Metz at the controls.
As told by Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs, in the article F-22 CTF celebrates 20th birthday of Raptor first flight, the F-22 CTF continues to test systems upgrades and modernization projects on the fifth-generation fighter.
A claim confirmed by Lt. Col. Lee Bryant, commander of the 411th Flight Test Squadron, who said earlier this year: “What we’re doing, you could almost call it Raptor 2.0, is essentially a rebirth of the Raptor and what it can do. We’re making sure the Raptor, with its first look, first shot, first kill capability, continues to be the most capable fifth-generation fighter in the world.”
According to the Air Force, the F-22 Raptor’s combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.
The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as supercruise. Supercruise greatly expands the F-22 ‘s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters that have to burn a lot of fuel using an afterburner.
Photo credit: Teddy Techer and Jennifer Correa / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com