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Fighter jet crashes near Edwards Air Force Base [UPDATED]

March 25, 2009 | 11:55 am

The pilot of the F-22 Raptor that crashed Wednesday was killed, the maker of the Air Force fighter plane announced. The pilot was identified as David Cooley, 49, a 21-year Air Force veteran who joined Lockheed Martin Corp. as a test pilot in 2003. The plane crashed in the High Desert about 35 miles from Edwards Air Force Base. [Updated at 6:30 p.m.]

An F-22A fighter jet crashed near Edwards Air Force Base this morning, and the condition of the pilot is unclear

The crash occurred at 10 a.m., 35 miles northeast of the base, said Julius Delosreyes, a base spokesman. The base is located near the Mojave Desert.

The plane was based at Edwards and at the time of the crash was on a test mission, he said. Officials are still trying to determine whether the pilot ejected, and if so, where he is.

The crash is being handled by Air Force investigators, not the Federal Aviation Administration.

Each F-22A Raptor costs about $150 million, making it the most expensive jet in the U.S. Air Force arsenal. The aircraft is loaded with advanced avionics and stealth technology.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Tony Perry