$339 million apiece
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
The U.S. Air Force has endorsed the Pentagon in its plan to end production of Lockheed Martin Corp’s top-of-the-line F-22 fighter jets after having pushed to buy more for years.
“This is the time to make the transition from F-22 to F-35 production,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and General Norton Schwartz, the service’s top uniformed officer, wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.
Like the F-22 Raptor, Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to avoid detection by radar, although it would not fly as fast or as high. The multi-role F-35 is being co-developed with eight countries in three models with an eye to achieving economies of scale…
Lockheed Martin stopped short of saying whether it would give up its lobbying effort to keep the F-22 production line going. Key F-22 subcontractors include Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp and United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney unit, which supplies the engines.
Frankly, I think most military-industrial contractors are greedy enough that I still expect them to continue to lobby for contracts even if the Air Force says they don’t want the planes.
The Air Force leadership’s reversal on F-22s is likely to fly into turbulence in Congress, which ultimately decides which programs to fund. With plants or suppliers in 44 states, the program counts many fans among lawmakers.
Another polite way of saying our political hacks don’t get their usual perks from contractors unless they deliver the orders.