Lockheed Martin Rolls Out Last F-22A From Marietta Plant

Lockheed Martin has rolled out the last F-22A Raptor on order by the
US Air Force, to close a nearly 15-year-old final assembly line that
produced a total of 187 operational fighters.

After a ceremony
marking the milestone event with employees, the final F-22A, bearing the
tail number 4195, was moved to the flight line outside Lockheed’s
massive factory in Marietta, Georgia. It is scheduled for delivery to
the USAF late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of
2012.

Meanwhile, Lockheed is implementing a plan to preserve
carefully the F-22’s special tooling and the manufacturing knowledge of
its existing workforce. The air force has revealed no plans to restart
F-22 production, but the tools will not be scrapped. Lockheed has said
the equipment may be needed again for a future mid-life upgrade
programme.

The same Marietta factory also produces the C-130J Super Hercules
tactical transport and assembles new wing skins for the P-3C Orion
maritime patrol aircraft. The space occupied by the F-22 will be
converted into an assembly area for the centre wing of the F-35
Lightning II. C-5M Galaxy modifications are installed at another
Lockheed facility in Marietta.
The USAF originally planned to buy
750 F-22s, but this number was significantly reduced over the years as a
result of cost overruns in the development phase. In 2006,
then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld finally slashed the planned
F-22 order from more than 300 to the current number of 187. Two aircraft
have been lost in crashes.