So long, F-22

posted at 3:36 pm on April 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The high-level campaign to save the F-22 as a production system has likely come to an end.  Lockheed Martin, the program’s prime contractor, announced that they would cease all lobbying activity after Defense Secretary Robert Gates scratched the Raptor in a series of cost-cutting moves at the Pentagon.  That leaves 95,000 jobs at risk:

Lockheed Martin will not spend any more time and effort trying to overturn Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ decision to halt production of F-22 Raptor fighter jets, a top company official said Tuesday.

After making a vigorous case for the F-22 with Gates, other senior Pentagon officials and Congress in recent months, Lockheed plans to move on and meet its commitments for other major defense programs such as the F-35 joint strike fighter. …

Lockheed had lobbied the Pentagon and Congress for months to counter public statements by Gates and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England that the Air Force did not need to buy more F-22s after pending orders for 187 planes are filled.

The company even bought ads in Washington newspapers and on bus-stop benches extolling the F-22’s virtues.

Lockheed instead will focus on accelerating deliveries of the F-35 Lightning II fighter, which Gates chose as priority over the F-22.  They want to push the schedule so that they can make up the difference in revenue quickly, as the lack of sales would likely force layoffs rather than transfers to the new program.  They scheduled F-35 deliveries originally to begin in 2010 and to meet operational levels in 2012, but with the extra labor and narrower focus, perhaps Lockheed can move those dates up a bit.

The withdrawal will likely close a minor debate point from President Obama’s critics, who looked at the scale of government stimulus spending in other sectors and wondered why the F-22 wouldn’t make a good subject for job preservation.  The entire production chain employed 95,000 people by its advocates’ estimates, and the price of delivering the remaining Raptors would have been dwarfed by the rest of Porkulus.  With Lockheed conceding the point, the question is now moot.


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Comments

And continuing on with the unbelievably obtuse line of “we’ll just order a few more” thinking – hey, I got an idea – let’s order a few Saturn % rockets, and a few lunar landers! Moon Buggies too!

Those have been made before! Let’s just order ‘a few more’!!!

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Many a Marine up around leatherneck Square has fond memories of the B-52. I think we called them Buff or Buffy or something similar to that. They flew lower probably than they reasonably should have and they were fired on quite a bit. I don’t remember exactly now but I think some of them were lost to missles or failures.

You had to be there when a 52 stike came by. It is indescribable. The ground literally shook all around. Awesome weapons system. Those were the days.

Targets? They sure were back in the 50’s and 60’s the ruskies had fleets of fighters waiting for the day the 52 might come. I don’t recall anymore but the 52’s were in the air 24 hours a day around the clock in case the ruskies hit us without warning over the pole. It was planned to be a suicide mission so we could hit back plus our subs with the polaris. No one expected the 52 to come back if war came. Thats why they stayed in the air around the clock to deter war. On the ground they would have been the first to be hit. The dawn of the nuclear age was a difficult time. The B52 is one of the reasons I think nuclear war never happened. It has never been replaced because there has never been a better bomber.

kanda on April 23, 2009 at 9:31 AM

The F-22 is an awesome fighter. It is a true air superiority fighter. The F-35 is a good plane but I can’t believe that it will be as good an air to air fighter as the F-22. Maybe it will. I want to see the F-35 do to the F-22 what the F-22 does to the F-18. That would make a beliver out of me. This multi role stuff is great for the Marines and Navy because they have the multirole mission. The Air Force needs the F-22.

kanda on April 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

You had to be there when a 52 strike came by. It is indescribable. The ground literally shook all around.

kanda on April 23, 2009 at 9:31 AM

I saw one when I was in Nam. It was BEAUTIFUL. Kind of gave you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, hell, I felt a tingle go up my leg.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Let’s not forget that Obama has also announced that the B52/B1/B2 replacement, the “Next Generation Bomber” (NGB), has been…delayed.

pseudonominus on April 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I saw one when I was in Nam. It was BEAUTIFUL. Kind of gave you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, hell, I felt a tingle go up my leg.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 10:06 AM

I’ve been told the results look like tilled earth, and sometimes strips of skin would be found hanging from trees outside the target area. True?

Count to 10 on April 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Kanda and OHV – I saw my buff strikes from 35K feet, about 40 miles away, in the pitch blackness of the Saudi Arabian night sky.

Watching wave after wave, stick after stick of bombs lighting up on the desert floor in nice orderly patterns. . .it’s no wonder that the IR satelites looking for SCUD launch plumes keyed so many false alarms those first couple of days, till the analysts figured out how to tell the difference.

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM

I’ve been told the results look like tilled earth, and sometimes strips of skin would be found hanging from trees outside the target area. True?

Count to 10 on April 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Yep.

I didn’t see any skin or body parts when we went in but the ground was ready for planting, after you filled in the big ass holes, and they were close to each other.

The area we called the strike in on was a line of tress, when it was over they were gone.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Watching wave after wave, stick after stick of bombs lighting up on the desert floor in nice orderly patterns. . .

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM

I’ll be in my bunk……LOL

Seeing films of the strikes is one thing, watching it live (from a safe distance of course) is something to behold and something you will never forget.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 10:45 AM

OHV – true

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Wind Rider,

So I take it you were flyin in one of those 52’s?

I’m on my 1st cup of coffee so I’m running a little right now.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

OHV – nope, one of these – the most beautiful aircraft every produced by human industrial efforts.

Had a front row seat for the whole show. And in a way, my job was to blog it.

Heh.

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 11:35 AM

OHV – nope, one of these – the most beautiful aircraft every produced by human industrial efforts.

Had a front row seat for the whole show. And in a way, my job was to blog it.

Heh.

Wind Rider on April 23, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Cool.

My job was to play in the mud and bi*ch about it. LOL

Went to your….I’m adding it to my favs.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Went to your site ….I’m adding it to my favs.

It helps to put all the words in.

Old Hippie Vet on April 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Really outdated technology, for sure. We need to put our very limited defense dollars into developing the Hug-o-tron, Teddy Bear cannon, and expanding the unicorn cavalry. Because in Obama’s new age of enlightenment, what problems can’t be solved with hugs, Teddy bears, and unicorns?

Wyznowski on April 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

The F-35 is a good plane but I can’t believe that it will be as good an air to air fighter as the F-22. Maybe it will…

kanda on April 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

It absolutely will not, and nobody from LockMart to Charlie Rangel has any delusions about that. It is less stealthy than the F-22, cannot supercruise, has a lower top speed, less range, and can carry half the number of AAM’s. It’s simply viewed as more economical and profitable, given that development costs and associated risks are shared between a large number of partner nations, and a huge volume of planes is expected to be produced. Nobody will ever claim it is an air-to-air platform even close to equivalence with the F-22.

On the bright side, at least there will be 185 F-22A’s around (two have already been written off). That’s 185 more than would ever have existed at all had Democrats had their way.

Blacklake on April 23, 2009 at 2:41 PM

You guys are acting like there won’t be any F-22 fighters. We will have 187 of them. If we need more in the future, it’s not like we couldn’t order a few.

Get a grip, people.

Big S on April 23, 2009 at 2:09 AM

We will have 185 of them, assuming more aren’t written off in mishaps before production halts (as two already have been).

Once a production line is closed it’s closed. The costs of re-constituting the line (which isn’t just the final assembly line, but a massive supply chain involving dozens if not hundreds of sub-contractors and their personnel) and re-qualifying the necessary workers is so costly and logistically difficult that one might as well just spend a little more and begin the process from scratch with a newly-designed plane. There is no magical F-22 replication machine that can simply be turned on and off at will.

Blacklake on April 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Robot aircraft never disobey orders, consciensciously conscientiously object,

epluribusunum on April 22, 2009 at 4:51 PM

.
Two very good reasons for manned weapon systems.

darktood on April 23, 2009 at 4:29 PM

As a former member of the USAF Security Service, it amazes me that of all the security violations that have occurred over many years, I can recall no one being prosecuted for their offense. And the government keeps telling us that “National Security” is a number one priority. Guess now that the POTUS and Congress, see no problem with exposing our secrets, it will continue.

hillbilly on April 24, 2009 at 11:57 AM