The Air Force’s new air superiority fighter has 2,592 test flight hours in the bag and recently completed avionics engineering manufacturing development testing, so testers at Edwards AFB, Calif., say the F/A-22 is ready for follow-on operational test and evaluation. That puts the Raptor on schedule for initial operational capability in December. According to Gen. Ronald Keys, the head of Air Combat Command, he will have enough Raptors at Langley AFB, Va., in December to declare IOC—with or without FOT&E. (DR, 09/14/05.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.