A crowd that included Air Force leadership, senators and congressional representatives, executives and plant personnel from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corporation attended a ceremony dedicating the delivery of the final F-22 Raptor in Marietta, Ga., May 2, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Peek)
Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norman A. Schwartz, speaks about the significance of the F-22 Raptor during a formal delivery ceremony at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Marietta, Ga., May 2, 2012. The last production aircraft, number 4195, was flown to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, by Lt. Col. Paul Moga, 525th Fighter Squadron commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Brad Fallin)
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norman A. Schwartz, turns over the symbolic key to the last production F-22 Raptor to Lt. Col. Paul Moga, 525th Fighter Squadron commander and his crew chief Staff Sgt. Damon Crawford at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Marietta, Ga., May 2, 2012. The last production aircraft, number 4195, was flown to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, by Lt. Col. Paul Moga. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Brad Fallin)
by Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Gaston
94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
5/3/2012 - MARIETTA, Ga. (AFNS) -- Senior Air Force officials attended a ceremony here May 2 commemorating the delivery of the final F-22 Raptor to the service.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz was joined by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and other industry, Air Force and civilian leaders as they were welcomed to Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the Lockheed Martin Marietta plant for the event.
The final delivery completes the Air Force's fleet of 195 F-22s. The Raptor is a key component of the Global Strike Task Force and is unmatched by any fighter aircraft due to its speed, stealth and maneuverability, according to Air Force officials.
During his remarks at the ceremony, Schwartz said the delivery represents an important element in the Air Force's overall modernization effort.
"Thank you to all of the partners in industry and government that made this occasion a reality," the general said. "I especially want to pay tribute to the line workers and engineers whose technical expertise, attention to detail and commitment to our nation's defense transformed an innovative notion into America's first 5th generation fighter aircraft."
When it was time to unveil the final F-22, the hangar doors rose and cheers from the assembled guests and workers erupted.
Robert Stevens, Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive officer, said the very existence of the F-22 has altered the strategic landscape forever.
"It is also fair to say that, along the way, the F-22 has had a fair number of challenges and a fair number of critics," Stevens said. "But let's not fail to take note today of the number of nations, who rank among either competitors or adversaries, who are frantically trying to replicate what you have done."
The final F-22, tail number 4195, will be flown to its new unit at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska.
5/8/2012 1:24:30 PM ET We were supposed to get 300 F-22's. that was when production costs were expected to be 180M. Not the 440M they ended up costing after all the delays. With the economy in the shape it's in today. this program should have been put on hold. So much money spent to combat an enemy that doesn't exist on an aircraft that shouldn't even be making sorties until this Oxygen flaw is sorted out. What were we thinking?
5/4/2012 3:18:43 PM ET Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Best weapon is one you never have to use because the enemy knows they can't beat it even if they try.
AJK, Stevens Point WI
5/4/2012 1:10:55 PM ET To compensate for the flawed onboard oxygen system, F-22 pilot qualification now requires the ability to hold one's breath for at least an hour.
5/4/2012 11:56:27 AM ET You guys do realize the F-22 is deployed to Southwest Asia right now, right?
5/4/2012 10:57:52 AM ET I thought we were fighting a war on terror, not a world-superpower Air Force. This is Cold War all over again, ramping up our stores as our not-so-close allies try to industrialize and act like they are on the same ball field as our influence. The reality is it's everyone's field and if we continue to play new players will come. Whatever we do now is the groundwork for tomorrow.
5/3/2012 9:09:04 PM ET We can't even use it in combat. Pilots don't want to fly it. And now we will throw away even more money on the F-35. Utterly disgusting.
Otis R. Needleman, Reality
5/3/2012 5:13:01 PM ET Richard Isn't the F-35 the close air support aircraft
David, Chicago IL
5/3/2012 4:31:14 PM ET Just in time for Congress to kill the program because the only theater F-22 crews will ever see is the base theater.
DT, San Diego Ca
5/3/2012 3:42:19 PM ET Richard P. Blommaert It's supposed to fight the war that might come. The one where an enemy has an actual Air Force. In 30 years the F-15C is going to be mighty long in the tooth. The F-22 Not so much.
5/3/2012 3:34:16 PM ET You want a dedicated CAS jet You have the F-35 which I'm sure can do a better job than the A-10. The F-35 can fly low and slow for hours carry lots of external stores take out armor with depleted uranium bullets survive an engine getting shot off and protect the pilot with an armored cockpit. Wait a minute it can do none of those. Little comfort for ground troops when the A-10 is ultimately scrapped. If it's treated anything like the F-22 it will never be forward deployed.
5/3/2012 3:04:33 PM ET This article is a great example of how the Air Force has dedicated its efforts in ensuring US air dominance. It will be interesting how this latest generation of fighter with all its pros and cons will affect the future in world-air-combat arena.
F. Bass, March ARB Ca.
5/3/2012 2:51:49 PM ET Weren't they planning on having about 300 F-22's Also this aircraft was designed to fight the wars of the future. I do agree that we still need close air support aircraft but that is not the role this aircraft was designed for.
CSrA Jatin Davis, Oklahoma City OK
5/3/2012 12:52:47 PM ET What war was this aircraft designed to fight? Where is the follow-on dedicated close air support aircraft?
Richard P. Blommaert, St. Petersburg FL
5/3/2012 12:11:25 PM ET Good article. Would have been nice to know a little more about some of the challenges Stevens referred to. But a good milestone for the Air Force nonetheless.