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The F-22 Raptor is a unique aircraft. Its stealth characteristics, powerful engines, advanced weapon systems, and aerodynamic performance makes it something quite special. The Raptor is an air superiority aircraft and its task is to seize and control a given airspace.
The aircraft was developed for the United States Air Force, which is the only air force in the world that operates the aircraft. But who actually built the F-22 Raptor? And where was it built? We'll dive into that in this article.
Who Made the F-22 Raptor?
For the F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter, Lockheed Martin was the primary contractor.
Lockheed Martin is an American company that operates in aerospace, weapons, defense, IT, and technology. The company is one of the world's largest of its kind and was created in a merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta in 1995. Lockheed Martin has approximately 115,000 employees. About half of them are engineers and scientists.
Together with Lockheed Martin, Boeing was also a partner on the F-22 Raptor program. Lockheed Martin built the majority of the airframe and weapons systems and was in charge of the final assembly. Boeing supplied the wings, avionics, and aft fuselage.
Another partner on the F-22 program was American engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which developed and built the aircraft's engines. The two Pratt & Whitney F119 afterburning turbofan engines allow the F-22 to fly about 10% faster than the Concorde. High speeds are important for air superiority fighters, as they must be able to intercept enemy aircraft and possibly evade threats in the airspace.
The contract for the start of production was awarded in September 2000 and the F-22 project involved over 1000 subcontractors from 46 states. Up to 95,000 jobs were required in the supply chain and when production was at its peak, Lockheed Martin was completing two planes a month. During the project, contractors were exposed to cyber attacks and theft of data, allegedly due to the advanced capabilities of the F-22.
In 2011, when the last aircraft was built and production ceased, Lockheed Martin had built 195 F-22 Raptors, including 8 prototypes and test aircraft. Lockheed Martin started the construction of these prototypes back in 1996. Despite the end of production, the F-22 tooling was retained in case production was to be restarted later or in case of future life extension programs on the aircraft.
In addition to the F-22 Raptor, Lockheed Martin has also developed the F-35 Lightning II fighter which was the result of the international Joint Strike Fighter program.
Where Was the F-22 Raptor Built?
Lockheed Martin developed the F-22 Raptor in its department for advanced and classified research and development projects called Skunk Works. The Skunk Works department is located in Burbank and Palmdale, California and the department has previously been responsible for the development of other legendary aircraft such as the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the Lockheed U-2, and the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk. Production of the F-22 took place in Marietta, Georgia where Lockheed Martin performed the final assembly.
The first prototype of the F-22 was unveiled in April 1997 at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. The very same aircraft flew for the first time in September 1997 which constituted the F-22's maiden flight.
After production of the F-22 was completed, work continued on upgrades and support of the F-22 in Fort Worth, Texas, and Palmdale, California.
The advanced air superiority F-22 Raptor fighter was developed and built by Lockheed Martin, with Boeing as a partner and supplier of certain components for the aircraft. Pratt & Whitney developed and built the F119 engines for the Raptor.
The F-22 was developed by Skunk Works in California and built at Lockheed Martin's factory in Marietta, Georgia. When Lockheed Martin ended production in 2011, they had built a total of 195 F-22 Raptor aircraft. Eight of them were test and prototype aircraft.
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