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Ceremonial event planned for final F-22 Raptor on Tuesday | News

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Ceremonial event planned for final F-22 Raptor on Tuesday
Ceremonial event planned for final F-22 Raptor on Tuesday

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The 187th and last F-22 high performance jet will roll out from it's north Atlanta assembly plant during a grand ceremonial show on Tuesday.

Built by three Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plants including Marietta, the F-22 Raptor is America's combat superiority in the sky featuring the latest glass cockpit controls and an ability to cruise at over the speed of sound undetected with a greater range.

The ceremony will showcase the last produced Raptor with speeches from government and industry leaders, and include the first Lockheed Martin Twitter meet-up also known in popular fashion as a "Tweet-up".

On Thursday evening, ten individuals who follow @LockheedMartin on the social media giant Twitter were selected at random to attend the aircraft's roll out. This aerospace journalist is one of the lucky few selected.

The company's spokesperson Alison Orne said of the Tweet-up, the ten guests will "get up close and personal with the F-22 and other aircraft produced at the factory".

Orne states the group will be treated as V.I.P's as they receive a tour of the facility, including the wing assembly areas for the C-130J Super Hercules and P-3 Orion aircraft, and "the opportunity to fly an F-22 cockpit simulator."

A replacement aircraft for the F-15, the seat F-22 is the newest technology in the skies traveling higher and further at faster speeds, according to Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics team in Marietta.

Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson (R) recently called the F-22, "The critical weapons system of the 21st century in the air."

Sen. Isakson had hoped for several more jets to be funded saying America is short of what we need.

In September, Lockheed announced the first 540 job cuts of a planned 1500 set to be eliminated by next month at the Marietta, Fort Worth and Palmdale, Calif. plants.

The F-22 program had employed nearly 95,000 people over the past two decades.

The Raptor has been in operation since 1997, and are stationed at several military installations across America including near Panama City, Fla., Alaska, Hawaii and California to name a few.

Each Raptor, which carries a price tag of nearly $145 million, can evade radar and strike both ground and air targets.

The Air Force states that three Raptors have crashed since the program began during training exercises.

An F-22 went down near Edwards, AFB in California in March 2009, and another went down in Alaska's interior in November 2010 -- both pilots were killed. In both accidents, the weather was near perfect around the crash sites.

The U.S. military is turning now to the newer F-35 series, also built in Marietta, which includes the A and C series at a cheaper cost per aircraft than that of the F-22.

(Charles Atkeison covers science & technology which impacts Georgia for 11Alive. Follow his updates via Twitter @AbsolutSpaceGuy.)


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