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Last F-22 Raptor jet rolls off Ga. assembly line

Posted: December 14, 2011 - 1:03am
In this undated photo provided by Lockheed Martin, workers assemble an F-22 Raptor fighter jet at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. The final F-22 Raptor fighter jet is scheduled to roll off the assembly line at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. About 2,000 workers have assembled the jets at the Marietta plant since the late 1990s. (AP Photo/Lockheed Martin, John Rossino, File)  JOHN ROSSINO
JOHN ROSSINO
In this undated photo provided by Lockheed Martin, workers assemble an F-22 Raptor fighter jet at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. The final F-22 Raptor fighter jet is scheduled to roll off the assembly line at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. About 2,000 workers have assembled the jets at the Marietta plant since the late 1990s. (AP Photo/Lockheed Martin, John Rossino, File)

MARIETTA, Ga. — The final F-22 Raptor fighter jet rolled off the assembly line at a Lockheed Martin Corp. plant in Marietta on Tuesday.

The jet is the last of about 190 F-22s produced for the U.S. Air Force, completing its operational fleet.

The F-22 Raptor is designed to carry a variety of weapons, including smart bombs and air-to-air missiles.

The final Raptor will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. About 2,000 workers have assembled the jets at the Marietta plant.

The F-22s are now based at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, Elmendorf AFB in Alaska, Holloman AFB in New Mexico, and Hickam AFB in Hawaii.

The F-22’s maiden flight took place Sept. 7, 1997, a Sunday morning, over Marietta with test pilot Paul Metz at the controls.

Lockheed originally expected to eventually build more than 1,400 Raptors, but the Navy pulled out of the project not long after the contract was awarded.

Critics have complained of the plane’s cost, about $140 million per plane, and many have argued there is no clear mission for the Raptor now that the Cold War is over.

The Raptor did not have a role in the fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. It has been deployed to Japan and Guam to enhance security in the Pacific.

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