Military Aviation

HERE’S WHY USAF WON’T RESTART F-22 RAPTOR PRODUCTION

Nearly $10 billion is required to restart the F-22 production line, while each Raptor will cost around $200 million

As we have reported yesterday, on Jun. 18, 2017, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has received a secret report on restarting production of the F-22 Raptor from the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The report was ordered last year by HASC lawmakers in order to determine what it would take and how much it might cost to re-start producing the high-tech, fifth generation aircraft again.

But, even though many “Raptor fans” would like the F-22 production restart, this will likely never happen.

In fact as reported by Military.com, a study by USAF has found that the American taxpayer will have to fork out $50 billion to procure another 194 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters.

Specifically nearly $10 billion is required to restart the production line, while each jet will cost around $200 million.

Noteworthy the report was delivered to the congressional defense committees on Jun. 9 by  Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Last year in fact, the House Armed Services Air and Land Forces subcommittee tasked the service to issue a study of what it would take to reopen Lockheed Martin’s F-22 production line.

“The Air Force has no plans restart the F-22 production line; it wouldn’t make economic or operational sense to do so,” said in a statement Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-22A Raptor 192nd Fighter Wing, 149th Fighter Squadron, FF/04-4082 – Langley AFB, VA – 2014

USAF instead has recommended applying resources to the “capability development plans outlined in the Air Superiority 2030 Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team Flight,” she said.

As explained by Military.com, Air Superiority 2030 is the plan to promote advanced fighter aircraft, sensors and weapons in a growing and unpredictable threat environment.

According to a 2010 Rand study (that was a rough estimate to restart production and build a small lot of planes), restarting the F-22 production line to build just 75 more jets would have cost about $20 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Part of the reason is that USAF would be building a new, improved F-22 and not the 1990s version, a claimed confirmed in March by a defense analyst in Washington, D.C., who told Military.com that “You’re not building the same airplane you were building before, and it becomes a much more expensive proposition. So do you build a new ‘old’ F-22, or do you build an improved one?”

Moreover it must be noted that Rand study didn’t take into account the cost of hiring workers, integrating newer stealth technologies, or training and equipping additional pilots.

For all these reasons the 187 F-22s delivered to USAF will remain the only Raptors ever produced.

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton / U.S. Air National Guard and Senior Airman Joshua A. Hoskins / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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