Friday, June 26, 2009

Debate on more F-22s still alive in Congress

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The F-22 Raptor is still in the news, with a growing move in both the House and Senate to build more for the U.S. Air Force. A second, related debate is whether the ban on foreign sales is outdated and should be removed. Our allies in Japan stand to benefit, as will our own U.S. economic activity. Of course, it is also a force multiplier for the Air Force, and continues to reduce the already dropping flyaway cost of these aircraft.

The mounting challenge within Congress to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the future of the Raptor is sparking more interest in why this remarkable aircraft is necessary and why its capabilities are so unique. Air Force Magazine's Daily Report has posted a number of updates on this hot topic in the past few days. These are must reading to anyone interested in the future of airpower.

Another take can be found here, although it should also be noted that this publication's cost estimate per plane includes the sunk costs of research and development, dollars spent long ago. The flyaway cost of building new planes going forward is well more than $100 million cheaper that this figure, and increasingly more in line with the costs of new fourth generation fighters that lack the F-22s state-of-the-art survivability, maneuverability and stealth.

Here also is the reporting from Politico, in case you missed it. This article and the administration's veto threat sparked a skeptical response from the Weekly Standard, whose writers feel it is extremely unlikely the President would veto a bill as significant as the Defense Authorization Act over this one issue.

All in all, this is a Congressional debate well worth having, and for our aging fighter fleet, better late than never.

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