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Mon, Jun 09, 2008

F-22 Fighters Begin Operations At Holloman AFB

Raptors Now Call Alamogordo Home

Ceremonies held at Holloman AFB, NM Friday marked the formal beginning of operations for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor with the United States Air Force's 49th Fighter Wing.

"The F-22 is the most advanced and capable fighter in the world," said Larry Lawson, executive vice president and F-22 program general manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "Now it stands ready at a key location in the United States, prepared to defend America and our allies. The pilots of the 7th, 8th and 301st Fighter Squadrons will fly a weapon system that has the capabilities essential to dominate the air for the next three decades."

The ceremony also marked what will likely be one of the last official appearances by General T. Michael Moseley... who, as ANN reported, resigned under pressure from his position as US Air Force Chief of Staff one day earlier. Moseley (below) was a strong advocate for the advanced fighter during his three-year tenure in the top commissioned role at the USAF.

"Today we open another chapter in our long-term plan for providing Air Force capabilities to the nation for meeting 21st Century security threats," Moseley said. "As you know, this past year we retired the last of our 59 F-117 Nighthawks that have served our nation so well over the years."

The 49th Fighter Wing has made its mark in military aviation history from World War II through every major military engagement. The wing was most recently home to the F-117 stealth fighter, until the last of those advanced aircraft were retired earlier this year.

A total of 183 production Raptors are currently on contract, and 119 aircraft have been delivered to the US Air Force. Lockheed states the F-22 is the only aircraft that blends speed, super-agility, stealth and sensor fusion into a single air dominance platform. Raptors have been in operational service with the US Air Force since December 2005.

Raptors are currently assigned to six US bases. Flight testing takes place at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, CA. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, NV. Pilot and crew chief training takes place at Tyndall AFB, FL.

Operational Raptors are assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, VA, the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and now the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman, located near Alamogordo, NM. In the future, Raptors will be based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

FMI: www.holloman.af.mil, www.f22-raptor.com/

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