FORT WORTH, TEXAS - MARCH 19, 2001 - Assembly of the first
F-22 Raptor fighter began here today during a short
ceremony attended by U.S. Air Force officials from Tyndall AFB,
Fla.-- the future home of this particular next-generation
aircraft. "We're pleased to begin this, the 20th
mid-fuselage we've built since the program began in 1991,"
Gary Keith, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics deputy program manager
for the F-22 said during the event. "With each one, we've
learned how to build them more quickly and more cost
The F-22A Raptor is the world's first
stealthy air dominance fighter, and is capable of multiple
missions. Deadly and unseen at long range, unmatched at close-in
dogfighting, and with superb, precision ground attack
capabilities, the F-22 will dominate the skies over any future
battlefield. It is being built by Lockheed Martin (and
Boeing as principal subcontractor, with engines supplied by
Pratt & Whitney) for the U.S. Air Force. It is currently in
the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase. To
date, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has built 19 F-22
mid-fuselages. The first 11 we're used by the program's flight
or ground-test aircraft. Three more mid-fuselages were built for
the program's Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTVs),
test airplanes that will later join the U.S. Air Force's
operational inventory. LM Aero is currently assembling five
additional PRTV mid-fuselages, and all will be finished during
The Air Force plans to field 339
Raptors during the next decade to replace its fleet of F-15
Eagles. The first Raptor squadron is scheduled to be operational
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