Raptor 4004 flies for the first time
16 November 2000
Raptor 4004, the first F-22 to fly with advanced avionics hardware and integrated software aboard, has made its maiden flight.
"The flight of the initial avionics software package helps keep the F-22 programme on track for delivery of an even more advanced software package, Block 3.0, prior to the end of the year,'' said Tom McDermott, manager of the F-22 program's Avionics team.http://defence-data.com/storypic/f2240041st.jpg [not image]
F-22 4004 take off on its maiden flight
Lockheed Martin test pilot Bret Luedke was at the controls during the 37-minute flight, which fulfilled a critical US Defense Acquisition Board criterion. Raptor 4004 will undergo additional flight testing at Marietta before joining the F-22 programme's flight test fleet at Edwards AFB, in California later this year.
Before the first flight, ground testing of Raptor 4004's avionics was completed at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company's facilities in Marietta. LM Aero is responsible for overall leadership of the programme's avionics team, which includes engineers from LM Aero in Fort Worth, Texas, the Boeing Company in Seattle, Wash., and 11 major subsystem suppliers from across the US.
Boeing is responsible for integrating the F-22's avionics hardware and software systems at their Avionics Integration Lab (AIL) in Seattle. The initial avionics flight test software package, called Block 1.2, includes stores management, vehicle management system, utilities and subsystems, radar, mission software, inertial reference system, pilot vehicle interface and cockpit display software.
The advanced Block 3.0 software has been flight-tested aboard the Boeing Flying Test Bed (FTB), a modified Boeing 757, since September. "It is on schedule to be delivered to Lockheed Martin in November for a December F-22 flight,'' said Mike Harris, Boeing F-22 Avionics Manager. "The Block 3.0 software will allow flight testing of multi-sensor fusion for the first time in a fighter.''
As one of several criteria that must be accomplished before the Department of Defense will authorise the Air Force to begin initial production of the F-22, the Pentagon requires the programme to fly a Raptor with Block 3.0 software aboard by the end of the year.
The Raptor will carry existing and planned air-to-air weapons, including a full complement of AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range missiles, along with an internal M61A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon. Multi-mission air-to-surface weaponry includes the new GBU-32, 1,000-lb joint direct attack munition (JDAM) for precision, all-weather attack.
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