Skip to comments.Could Chinese threat restore F-22 here?
Posted on 01/26/2011 12:00:48 AM PST by Red Steel
Observers may argue whether the recent first flight of Chinas J-20 prototype stealth fighter means any imminent threat to U.S. air superiority.
But the new evidence of Chinese military aerospace prowess does raise the possibility of a future decision to resume building the U.S. top-of-the-line fighter, the F-22 Raptor, which is nearly at the end of its planned production run.
A number of pundits and press reports have recently weighed whether the U.S. will need more F-22s to counter the Chinese fighter if the latter actually evolves into a competitive aircraft and enters production.
Focusing on the possible Chinese threat will inexorably lead to the conclusion that our Air Force needs to have more F-22s -- the only plane optimized for dealing with the kind of air power China seems to be pursuing, said Loren Thompson, analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based Lexington Institute, in a Jan. 13 piece.
Building more F-22s could be a good thing for the Puget Sound region, where currently about 1,000 Boeing workers are engaged in building the last F-22 composite wings and fuselage aft end, for delivery in June. While Lockheed Martin Corp. assembles the final aircraft, Boeing builds about one-third of the mostly composite airframe.
With its twin engines and ability to cruise at supersonic speeds, the F-22 is a substantially more powerful aircraft than the troubled but cheaper single-engine F-35, which is currently to become the dominant U.S. fighter.
Lockheed Martin also builds the F-35, after defeating a Boeing proposal in 2001 after a hotly fought competition.
The Chinese J-20 is certainly styled to look like the F-22 and therefore may be intended to be a competitor, which could mean a future production model of the Chinese plane would be superior to the F-35.
To be sure, right now it seems unlikely that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will re-start production of the expensive F-22 after having decided to limit the fleet to 195 aircraft, about half the original fleet. The last F-22 is currently to be delivered in 2012.
But Gates is planning to step down from his position this year, and the perception of a growing Chinese threat could change the political will.
With these possibilities in mind, the Air Force already has arranged for Lockheed Martin and Boeing to store 30,000 major pieces of the tooling and molds for the aircraft, at the Sierra Army Depot in California, said Lockheed Martin spokesman Chris McGee.
The F-22 production line could be restarted after production ends, if necessary, but there would be a time gap involved, depending on when such a request were received, said a statement from Lockheed Martin released by McGee.
If Lockheed Martin did restart production, theres no telling what role Boeing might have.
An issue is that composites developmental work is displacing the remaining F-22 production in the legendary 9-101 building, also known as the Boeing Development Center, across from Seattles Museum of flight.
A substantial portion of the F-22 production floor space already has transitioned to Boeing Commercial Airplanes' new Advanced Developmental Composites organization, formed to advance Boeing's use of composite technologies.
Additional floor space will be made available for BCA as (F-22) production completes in mid-2011, said Boeing spokesman Paul Guse, in an email.
So if a Chinese threat spurs resumption of F-22 production, and if Boeing has a similar role, that program would have to find new floor space if it were to remain in the Puget Sound area.
What do you think of the likelihood of that?
It sure as **** should
The place where the bufferillas roam... that I was told.
And we’ll pay for it by borrowing more from the Chinese??
They will in turn use our money to build more of their own??
Sounds like a vicious cycle to me.
(I’m okay with defense spending. It’s one of those pesky things the Constitution says the feds are supposed to do anyway, now if we could could do something about the DO Energy, Education, Agriculture......etc....we’d be getting somewhere)
The Chinese probably own stock in Lockhead Martin. They photoshop a stealth fighter, their LM stock goes up, we borrow money from them and buy more fighters and their stock goes up. It’s a win, win, win for the reds.
The likelihood of restarting the F-22 while the Kenyan Clown and his circus are in charge is zero.
He is determined to destroy our military — look at the massive cuts in the military that he is making: Pentagon Seeks Biggest Military Cuts Since Before 9/11. He is destroying our missile defense, and has pushed insane treaties like START.
The Kenyan usurper hates and despises this country.
As to restarting the program after he leaves, often that's not even feasible, and if it were, my own guess is that it will many, many billions to bring it back.
Yes. The F-35 is a very good plane and I like the plane.But it is plagued with cost overruns and technical problems.Most politicians are fed up with the F-35. If I was the Secretary of Defense I would ask Congress to reinstate the F-22 program.If the U.S. Navy is allowed two classes of LCS ships, the Air Force should have two stealth airplanes.
“reinstate the F-22 program”
That was my thought, as well.
Thank you for your input!
“Its one of those pesky things the Constitution says...”
Defense of our country? Pesky things the Constitution says?
You equate defense of this country with the Departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, etc. with the Constitution?
Where in the Constitution does it allow for the above said departments, except for Defense?