DAYTON, Ohio --
Several high ranking officials, distinguished guests and many Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force today as the museum unveiled its new F-22A Raptor exhibit.
The Raptor, which was given a declaration of Full Operational Capability by the Air Force on Dec. 12, combines stealth, maneuverability, and the ability to fly long distances at supersonic speeds into an aircraft capable of performing both air superiority and air-to-ground missions.
Since entering the Air Force's operational inventory in December 2005, the F-22A has been forging an impressive record in exercises and early deployments, proving its unmatched capabilities and exceeding even the lofty expectations surrounding the program. Raptors participating in Exercise Northern Edge in June 2006 at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, achieved a staggering kill ratio of 144 to 0 flying against legacy fighters and recorded an impressive 97 percent mission capability rate.
"The F-22A Raptor's unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities makes it the best overall fighter in the world," said Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director, Air Force Staff, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz. "It will fundamentally change how America fights - shortening wars and saving lives. It has been 54 years since U.S. ground forces have been threatened by enemy air attacks; the F-22A is the best aircraft available to extend that timeline indefinitely."
The museum's aircraft, serial number: 91-4003, was one of nine built for engineering, manufacture and development testing in 1999, and became the first Raptor to launch an AIM-120 air-to-air missile at supersonic speeds. After completing its test program, the aircraft came to the museum and was restored by the museum's restoration team. It is painted to represent an F-22A flown by the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
According to museum director Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles D. Metcalf, the museum is extremely proud to be the home of the world's first and only F-22A on permanent public display, and should be seen as a place where people can come to learn more about the Air Force's current and future operations environment.
"So often when people think of an aviation museum, they think mostly about the great aircraft of the past," said Gen. Metcalf. "However, we are a museum that not only strives to tell the Air Force stories of the past, but those of the present and future as well, and the F-22A Raptor is performing and will continue to perform a critical role in accomplishing the Air Force mission for many years to come."
The 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which provides acquisition support to the F-22 program by managing contracts and ensuring on-time deliveries, led the effort to prepare the aircraft to be transferred to the museum. The transfer required the talents of many people from a variety of offices, said Brig. Gen. C.D. Moore, Commander, 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing.
"The F-22A Raptor is a revolutionary combat system with its fifth generation fighter capabilities, and we are pleased to add one of these state of the art weapon systems to the museum's collection," said Gen. Moore. "The expanding Raptor fleet, represented by the display of Ship 3 (91-4003), reflects the finest in American ingenuity, creativity and innovation."
The F-22A Raptor is built by the Lockheed Martin Corporation in partnership with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.
"We are honored by the role the industry team has played in defining a new generation of U.S. Air Force Air Dominance fighters," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Executive Vice President and F-22 General Manager. "The Raptor now sits in this great museum among the greatest aircraft ever used in the defense of our nation."
Raptors are currently assigned to five U.S. bases. Flight testing takes place at Edwards AFB, Calif. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, Nev. Pilot and flight training takes place at Tyndall AFB, Fla. Operational Raptors are assigned to Langley AFB, Va. and at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Raptors will also be based at Holloman AFB, N.M., and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.
NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.
NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact Rob Bardua at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1386.
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