The Last Four Raptors

The four additional F-22s that the Air Force intends to procure in Fiscal 2010 to complete its production buy at 187 will be fully combat-capable aircraft that will “flush out” operational Raptor units, Vince Lewis, chief of capabilities planning and integration in the F-22 program office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, tells the Daily Report. “They are not intended or planned for test or any other uses at this time,” Lewis said in an interview last week during a visit to the Ohio base. These final four aircraft, added by Congress in the Fiscal 2009 budget, will constitute Lot 10 of the F-22’s production run and are expected in the Air Force’s arsenal in early 2012. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his 2010 defense budget proposal capped Raptor production at 187—four more than the 183-aircraft program of record set in 2005—however, one item to remember is that the net gain to the Raptor fleet will be three F-22s—for a fleet size of 186—since the F-22 lost in 2004 is considered part of the program of record. (For more on the F-22, read Honed to a Razor’s Edge.)