An End for the F-22?

It may not be a happy start to the new year for Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor, according to a story this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Japan has said it won't buy Lockheed's fighter jet because it believes the factory lines in Texas and Georgia could eventually be shut down.

Lockheed could see an end to its F-22 production, as the U.S. Air Force has cut back the number of planes it wants. The expensive fighter jet could also come under more budgetary scrutiny in the Obama administration. The Pentagon has also been reluctant to sell the technologically advanced F-22 to foreign governments for fear it could get into unfriendly hands.

The AJC said a high-ranking Japan Defense Ministry official told the Daily Yomiuri, "We have a firm impression that its production likely would be halted."

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told the AJC, "Obviously, if there was a threat to the F-22, it would be a severe blow to Lockheed."

Jeff Adams
, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, said in a statement, "We await and will support the decision of the next administration regarding any continuation of F-22 production."

The foreign military sales of the plane, Adams said, "is a matter of policy determined by the government."

By Terri Rupar |  December 31, 2008; 4:30 PM ET defense
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Despite the negative news for Lockheed, I can't think of a better project to cut from our DOD budget. This is an extremely expensive program that would also require expensive retooling and retraining for every USAF unit deploying the Raptor - and to what benefit? We are already the strongest Air Force in the world with literally no close competition. Let's stop defense contractors from deciding how our money is being spent. This is just fiscal insanity.

Posted by: rsmith3 | January 5, 2009 12:38 PM

The F-22 is not where the future lies for the Air Force. The Raptor is unneeded and is extremely costly especially in today's economy. It's time for the fighter jocks that 'rule' the Air Force to wake up and smell the future. The need for unmanned aerial vehicles, CAS aircraft such as the A-10, mid air refuelers is painfully apparent. These types of aircraft are anathema to the 'old school' Air Force but exemplify the sort of vehicles/weapon delivery systems necessary in future encounters with enemies that wish to engage us asymmetrically.

Posted by: JJSchwartz01 | January 5, 2009 12:59 PM

The F-22 program needs to be maintained even if at a slightly reduced level. It's very irresponsible to cancel the program at this stage. The country needs to gear up to replace some aging aircraft with these state of the art fighters. More fiscal oversight within the program may be necessary but eliminating it is the wrong approach.

Posted by: bukweat57-tooth | January 5, 2009 1:54 PM

I agree with bukweat57-tooth in that the program needs to be maintained but at a much reduced level. There are other potential threats with technically advanced fighters on the horizon and it would be imprudent to totally scrap the F-22 program.

Posted by: JJSchwartz01 | January 5, 2009 2:41 PM

"There are other potential threats with technically advanced fighters on the horizon..."

Name just one.

There are no contenders for air superiority, none. The US owns the sky. The projection of power that a US Air Carrier Battle Group provides is overwhelming. No potential conventional opponent is within decades of coping with a carrier group.
Asymmetric engagement is where any threat lies. The Raptor is a prohibitive answer to a question nobody has asked.
Its production diverts funding from many worthier programs

Posted by: critical44 | January 5, 2009 5:07 PM

While there are major enhancements in capability, the F-22 is still a weapon in search of a worthy foe which comes at a very expensive price. Updating and buying additional airframes in the current inventory is a very cost effective alternative which is also militarily effective. Development and production of drones as well as aerial refuelers is needed more and now. Team Obama would do well to close the F-22 gravy train.

Posted by: DaveinStLouis | January 5, 2009 7:01 PM

The Air Force, like the other Services, wants up-to-date weapons systems. With the current economic climate and a new president all but onboard, odds are that procurement of all weapons systems in the pipeline will be slowed to a trickle, if not cancelled outright. There is a saying among those who make government, including the military, a career: "I was here when you arrived and I'll be here when you leave." Presidents have minimal impact on military programs in the long run, as one example will illustrate. President Carter during his term in office cancelled the Air Force's B-l program, an airplane desired by the Strategic Air Command, and one which they had the patience to wait for, even if it took a few years. After Reagan won the presidency from Carter, his Administration almost immediately reinstated the B-1 program, proving that the military-industrial complex usually gets its way. It would be surprising to see the F-22 program completely shut down.

Posted by: Diogenes | January 6, 2009 5:24 PM

dont be to proud of this technological terror.the f-22.when you say we own the skies.its allways a question of where and when. in the serbian conflict a stealth bomber was recovered. the russian technology is alive and well.we wouldnt just fly into russian air space without a problem.if we could we would have.

Posted by: moonandstars68 | January 7, 2009 10:51 AM

Critical44: 'There are other potential threats with technically advanced fighters on the horizon...'"Name just one." Easy. Mainland China. One other nation that fields excellent pilots that fairly routinely out fly the USAF in air-to-air competitions is India flying advanced avionics equipped Russian fighters. It's important to keep up on advanced fighter technologies and though I agree that the immediate threat to our security is asymmetric warfare it would be short sighted to place all our air defense eggs in that basket. The F-22 program should be pared down but should not be eliminated because there are in deed potential high tech adversaries.

Posted by: JJSchwartz01 | January 7, 2009 11:34 AM

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