June 12, 2016

F22 stealth fighter production restart possibilities

No other aircraft can match the F-22’s range of capabilities—many of which remain classified—for speed, agility, stealth, and battlefield sensor power. With 183 in service, a reboot could mean, theoretically, the delivery of 194 additional planes that were planned before the program was canceled.

The F-22s built for the current fleet were restricted from foreign sales owing to its advanced technologies. The F-35, on the other hand, has been sold to U.S. allies. Several F-35 customers abroad, such as Japan and Israel, would likely switch to the F-22 “in a heartbeat” if it became available.

Lockheed could be asked to build copies of the F-22 with updated elements. Its software was considered dated more than a decade ago and would probably need a major revamp. And if some of the other platforms on the current F-22 are considered sufficiently “obsolete,” how much would modifications add in terms of complexity?

A 2010 Rand Corp. study on the F-22 shutdown calculated that restarting production for just 75 more jets would cost $17 billion, or about $227 million per copy. A revived F-22 program would almost certainly need to siphon funds from some of the military’s most expensive programs: the F-35, or the new B-21 long-range bomber

SOURCES - Bloomberg news

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