Friday, November 19, 2010

More "Talk" On Buying Additional F-22 Raptors

It’s Okay To Talk Raptor Again -- Air Force Magazine

Once taboo, talk has resurfaced about the possibility of buying more F-22s.

The Air Force has apparently gotten over one of its biggest taboos: talking internally about the possibility of buying more F-22s.

Until recently, USAF was under strict orders not even to think about it, but recent developments have caused the possibility to crop up in some "what if" PowerPoint slides.

Those developments include likely further slips in the F-35 strike fighter's schedule and an upcoming defense acquisition board review of the F-35 expected to be fraught with bad news on cost.

That would come on the heels of various deficit-cutting proposals that already suggest cutting the F-35 buy.

Without F-35, Air Force fighter inventories will plummet below minimums in coming years as F-16s age out.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is an excellent brief on the rumors that additional F-22 purchases may happen in the future. The sentence that caught my attention was the following ....

Gen. William Fraser, head of Air Combat Command, acknowledged last week that Lockheed Martin is filming all F-22 tooling processes as the earliest parts of production shut down, so that it can go back to production of parts—ostensibly for repairs or service life extension—in the future.

This tells me that with F-35 production and cost overruns increasing .... everyone is now "covering their ass" in the event of a "what if" scenario for the U.S. Air Force.

As to what is my take on the future .... F-35 production problems and costs will increase with time, chief F-22 opponent Sec. of Defense Gates will retire next year, pro-defense Republicans are poised to win big in 2012, and Russia's F-22 clone (the PAK FA) production and entry into Russia's air force .... all of these factors bode well for another serious look and probable return of the F-22.

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