Congress Looks Into Restarting the F-22 Raptor
(Source: The Hill; published April 19, 2016)
By Kristina Wong
As it has now become clear that the F-35 will not be able to match new combat aircraft being developed by other nations, a Congressional panel wants the US Air Force to assess the cost and feasibility of re-starting F-22 production. (USAF photo)
Congress is looking into restarting production of the F-22 fighter jet, according to a defense bill proposal released Tuesday.
The House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee released its portion of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision to look into restarting production of the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet.
Production of the F-22 ended in 2009, at 187 aircraft — far less than the planned buy of 749, and an Air Combat Command requirement of 381 aircraft.
However, the subcommittee offers language that says exploring the idea of restarting production is worthy "in light of growing threats to U.S. air superiority as a result of adversaries closing the technology gap and increasing demand from allies and partners for high-performance, multi-role aircraft to meet evolving and worsening global security threats."
In addition, there is interest within the Air Force and the Pentagon in potentially restarting production of the F-22, it said.
The provision directs the Air Force secretary to conduct an assessment of the costs of resuming production and to provide Congress with a report no later than Jan. 1, 2017.
The subcommittee bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to review sustainment strategies for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and provide a report to Congress by April 1. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on The Hill website.
F-22 Production Restart Assessment
(Source: House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces; issued April 19, 2016)
The committee notes that production of the F-22 fifth-generation tactical aircraft concluded in 2009, and notes 187 aircraft were produced, far short of the initial program objective of 749 aircraft, as well as the Air Combat Command’s stated requirement of 381 aircraft.
The committee also understands there has been interest within the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense, and Congress in potentially restarting production of the F-22 aircraft.
In light of growing threats to U.S. air superiority as a result of adversaries closing the technology gap and increasing demand from allies and partners for high performance, multi-role aircraft to meet evolving and worsening global security threats, the committee believes that such proposals are worthy of further exploration.
Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of the Air Force to conduct a comprehensive assessment and study of the costs associated with resuming production of F-22 aircraft and provide a report to the congressional defense committees, not later than January 1, 2017, on the findings of this assessment.
The committee expects the report to be unclassified, but may contain a classified annex.
Further, the committee directs that the assessment and report consider and address the following:
(1) Anticipated future air superiority capacity and capability requirements, based on anticipated near-term and mid-term threat projections, both air and ground; evolving F-22 missions and roles in anti-access/area-denial environments; F-15C retirement plans and service-life extension programs; estimated next-generation aircraft initial operating capability dates; and estimated end-of-service timelines for existing F-22As;
(2) Estimated costs to restart F-22 production, including the estimated cost of reconstituting the F-22 production line, and the time required to achieve low-rate production; the estimated cost of procuring another 194 F-22 aircraft to meet the requirement for 381 aircraft; and the estimated cost of procuring sufficient F-22 aircraft to meet other requirements or inventory levels that the Secretary may deem necessary to support the National Security Strategy and address emerging threats;
(3) Factors impacting F-22 restart costs, including the availability and suitability of existing F-22A production tooling; the estimated impact on unit and total costs of altering the total buy size and procuring larger and smaller quantities of aircraft; and opportunities for foreign export and partner nation involvement if section 8118 of the Defense Appropriations Act, 1998 (Public Law 105-56) prohibiting export of the F-22 were repealed;
(4) Historical lessons from past aircraft production restarts; and
(5) Any other matters that the Secretary deems relevant.
Click here for the full text of the mark-up (45 PDF pages), on the HASC website.