Marietta, USA: The US Air Force declared Full Operational Capability (FOC) for Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor which is the world's only fifth generation fighter in production. Gen. John Corley, Air Combat Command Commander (ACC), made the announcement from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, home of ACC headquarters and the 1st Fighter Wing, the first unit to fly the F-22 operationally.
"After years of collaborative effort, a key milestone for the F-22 has been reached," said Gen. Corley. "The Raptor's success at Langley with the integration of active duty and Guard airmen is the showcase example of ACC's shared vision with Air Force leadership for the Total Force Integration of tomorrow."
FOC signifies the Raptor has fulfilled all performance and operational requirements for the weapon system, Gen. Corley said. The entire programme, from the aircraft to the pilots and maintenance crews, is now ready for a range of operations, including employment in a wartime environment.
"This announcement means the F-22 is ready for world-wide operations, should it be called upon," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president and F-22 general manager.
Raptors are currently assigned to five US bases. Flight-testing takes place at Edwards AFB, California. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Pilot and maintainer training takes place at Tyndall AFB, Florida. Operational Raptors are assigned to Langley AFB, Virginia and at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Raptors will also be based at Holloman AFB, N.M., and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.