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  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
No more F-22 Raptors after final aircraft was delivered

Lockheed Martin has announced that it has delivered the final F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter to the United States Air Force (USAF). The final fighter is the 195th F-22 Raptor to be built. Lockheed held the ceremony for the final aircraft delivery with senior leaders from the aircraft manufacturer, USAF, local, state, and national elected officials.
 
“There is no longer any nation that wishes us ill or any adversary who wishes us harm that has any doubt that their actions will have consequences – that they will be held to account and that our response will be undeterred,” said Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman and CEO. “The very existence of this airplane – your airplane – has altered the strategic landscape forever.”
 
The aircraft will join the USAF 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. F-22 fighters are currently assigned to seven USAF bases around the world. Lockheed Martin notes that the F-22 is the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter.
 
The F-22 is a very impressive fighter capable of flying at supersonic speeds without afterburners (supercruise) and attacking both air and ground targets. The development and production of the F-22 fleet has cost over $74 billion according to the GAO. The F-22s in use right now require more than $11 billion and modernization work through 2017.
 
General Michael Hostage, the head of air combat command, recently said that a small number of pilots are actually refusing to fly the F-22. The refusal to fly has do with the fact that the Air Force and Lockheed Martin have so far been unable to determine the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms some pilots experience while flying the aircraft.
 
The F-22 fleet was placed on stand down leaving pilots unable to fly for a number of months while the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms were investigated. Ultimately, the fleet of Raptors was returned to the skies with no official determination on cause of some pilot issues.

Sources: Defense News, Lockheed Martin



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F-22A
By chromal on 5/3/2012 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 3
It's a capable aircraft. It's beyond baffling that they can't seem to get the life support systems right after successfully designing, building, and deploying such systems in literally decades of military fighter/interceptor jet aircraft, especially with a per-unit cost of around 3x the next-most-capable platform, the F-18E/A.

With 187 F-22As built, they're only going to be the spearhead of any air-superiority strategy.




RE: F-22A
By chromal on 5/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: F-22A
By Colin1497 on 5/3/2012 11:14:25 AM , Rating: 5
That always happens when you spend billions developing something and then don't buy even half the originally planned number. The original buy of 750 turned into a buy of 195, meaning all the development costs were amortized over about 1/4 of the planned number of aircraft. Additionally, lot costs were much higher due to low production numbers.

I have no involvement in the program, but people look at costs of military procurement programs in very dishonest ways. A program with 10% higher than anticipated unit costs can easily become 100% higher if you cut production numbers in half.


RE: F-22A
By chromal on 5/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: F-22A
By Samus on 5/3/2012 12:01:57 PM , Rating: 5
How else do you think cars (and electronics for that matter) are so cheap?

Ford couldn't sell a "Festiva" for the $6,000 I believe it cost in the early 90's if it weren't for mass-production and mass-consumption paying for engineerings costs.

Where as super cars, manufactures in low production numbers, can cost over a million dollars because they sell so few.

The F22 is a supercar. Low production, specialized engineering, exotic materials.

And if you think about it, car's are an incredible value. It's amazing what you can get for $20,000. It'd cost twice that much to build one yourself from scratch, and it wouldn't be as safe of refined.


RE: F-22A
By Netjak on 5/4/2012 6:02:32 AM , Rating: 1
Enginering a new car cost next to nothing. key word is reusing. capital cost for mass producing equipment and tooling is enormous. thats the paradox. add to that 1/3 for marketing and 1/5 for selling cost.


RE: F-22A
By White Widow on 5/3/2012 12:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but I think you misunderstand a free market. In a free market, buyers and sellers agree on the terms of transaction such that it is mutually beenficial to both parties.

The market for custom-built aircraft is very different than the market for mass-produced autombiles, but it doesn't mean they are not both part of a free market.

If you went to Ford and asked how much it would cost to build you a custom made vehicle, I'm guessing one of the first questions they would ask is "how many do you want". If you want only 1, the price will - by necessity - have to include all the fixed costs associated with building it. If you want more than one, those costs get divied out across all the additional vehicles.

Bottom line is that how many units they sell is NOT just "their problem" because they are only building this product for YOU . It's not like Lockheed can sell any excess planes to China or Russia. In fact, it's forbidden.


RE: F-22A
By Natch on 5/3/2012 2:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
The other difficult part of the equation has to do with developmental costs, especially when the DoD will add on to, or change the list, of things they want their new plane (tank, troop carrier, ship, etc) to be able to do. Every time they do that, the engineers need to go back to their computers, figure out how to do it, figure out how to integrate it into the design, whether it will work with everything else that's been asked for, etc.

That costs money. Lots of money. And the generals with stars on their shoulders (and starry eyed visions of their new toys) really don't care how much it costs. Hell, they'll just cut the numbers of troops under them, or the number of civil service workers, or some other "unnecessary" expenditure. So long as they get their new toy, and they still have their golf course and officer's club, they're happy.


RE: F-22A
By adiposity on 5/3/2012 12:29:37 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
It seems like a bass-ackwards way of running a free market. It's like if Ford told me I'd have to pay $100,000 for a Ford Festiva because they didn't sell as many as they wanted last year.

I realize that's not exactly how military procurement contracts work, but... maybe it's how they SHOULD work. How many units they sell is their problem. Set a price, and that's what the US taxpayer (via the DoD) pays, no more.


That's ridiculous. You can't set a price for one plane and tell them you will buy 1000, then turn around and say, "well, we only want one at the price you promised us." How will they recoup their investment costs?

You may say, "well, that's their problem." It's not their problem if the government committed to buy a bunch of planes, and that's how they made the decision to do the R&D. That's why they structure it this way, or else they would never agree to do it at all.

It's not like they can just make up their losses by selling these planes to Iran. As a defense contractor, they have some limits on what they can do with their R&D.


RE: F-22A
By Nfarce on 5/3/2012 7:39:23 PM , Rating: 1
Read up on Henry Ford's success of the Model T and why it was affordable and highly successful (and pioneering) automobile.


RE: F-22A
By Apone on 5/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: F-22A
By HrilL on 5/3/2012 12:29:56 PM , Rating: 5
Completely disagree. Had we ordered the full 750 the cost would have gone way lower. 185 million each would have been the cost. Now we're replacing all those planes you just listed with the F-35 that is a jack of all trades fighter and a master of none and its estimated the cost will be 250 million now for each one. So we'll have a worse force overall now that is actually going to end up costing us more. Yeah that is a great idea. Dream on..


RE: F-22A
By Apone on 5/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: F-22A
By gamerk2 on 5/3/2012 1:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the problem though: Lets say there is a way, say with China. We start loosing planes. How quickly do you think these VERY high end planes can be mass produced?

...and you see the major problem with modern airforces: Its not easy to ram up to wartime production because they are so specialized.

So while 177 F22's are plenty for todays requirements, if there is a war with a country that has a decent Airforce, then we are going to war with far too few.


RE: F-22A
By Apone on 5/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: F-22A
By Ringold on 5/3/2012 5:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the event of an emergency, the shells can have all its parts quickly reassembled if it ever had to be called back into service.


That assumes compatible avionics and engines are easily and rapidly available, the more important pieces of the guts of such an aircraft that come to mind that are very sensitive, often model-specific in some way, and slow to reproduce. I'm reminded of NASA sourcing the occasional odd part from eBay simply because parts have been out of use for so long they're completely unavailable outside of collectors and the occasional trash bin.

Also, I'm reminded of the USS Cole. That thing was in drydock for YEARS after having a hole put in it. This isn't WW2 any more, where a carrier could have a plane-size hole tore through it, and a couple weeks off a shitty island and a lot of elbow-grease later and the flight decks open for business again. Any war of the future will pretty much be fought only with the forces on hand going in to it.

China's also working to modernize its forces rapidly, so can't assume an F22 would fly against a fleet of relics.


RE: F-22A
By Nfarce on 5/3/2012 7:53:10 PM , Rating: 1
1) Our F-15s (only the E model is still active duty in front line AF units, the single seat Cs are in the process of being put out to Reserve pasture) and 16s are reaching the end of their lives.

2) The Tomcat's parts from the mothballed aircraft at Davis-Montham were destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands, notibly Iran. The "hulls" themselves (the proper term) are slowly being destroyed ( http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,287757,00.html ).

3) We have to look into and think about the future; 10, 20, and even 40 years into it. The F-22's development started over 20 years ago and was designed to last 40 years (like the F-14/15/16s were designed to last 30+ years). It is already halfway through that.

4) We learned in 1938 not to get caught with our pants down, when few people believed that Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany would be a real threat to US soil and soil of our allies. At that time we still had fabric covered biplanes as front line Army AF and Navy fighters. We didn't win the first two years of either campaign because we were behind the power curve. With China and Russia, we can't afford to be behind again. And make no mistake, the day WILL come that we will have to address Chinese aggression, Russian aggression, or God forbid BOTH as allied forces.


RE: F-22A
By Steve1981 on 5/4/2012 12:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We didn't win the first two years of either campaign because we were behind the power curve.


How do you figure that? Within six months of the attack of Pearl Harbor, the Kido Butai was dealt a pretty serious blow at the battle of Midway. Within fourteen months, the Japanese were withdrawing from Guadalcanal.

On the other side of the world, the battle of the Atlantic had decidedly turned against Germany by (Black) May of 1943. The Luftwaffe was on the defensive against Allied strategic bombing which had heavily firebombed Hamburg in late July of 1943.


RE: F-22A
By Jeffk464 on 5/3/2012 10:21:11 PM , Rating: 5
Any country with a high end air force also tends to have a sizable inventory of nuclear tipped ICBM's. So a war between two large and fully modern airforces is extremely unlikely.


RE: F-22A
By Articuno on 5/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: F-22A
By AssBall on 5/3/2012 12:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
You are being ignorant. Weapons such as this plane are the biggest reason we are not going to be "invaded by a hostile force tomorrow".


RE: F-22A
By Bubbacub on 5/3/2012 1:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
do you really believe the usa is at risk of being invaded by another country?

we arn't living in the fifties/sixties anymore. the generation of psychopaths who fought WW2 and were behind cold war military planning are dead or retired. no major power has the stomach for all out war any more - everybody wants to live and reap the benefits of a consumer orientated capitalist society - even the communists in china want this now, though they might not openly say so!

the need for high tech weaponry is for power projection rather than defence of an unassailable continent.

p.s. im not saying that power projection is bad btw - its realistic that bigger more powerful societies can use force or the threat of force to get their way.


RE: F-22A
By AssBall on 5/3/2012 3:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
No one believes we are going to be invaded, that is why the comment was ignorant.


RE: F-22A
By Ringold on 5/3/2012 5:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
That's true of the US, for now. But not the rest of the world. Russia has taken a big step back from what looked like a bright democratic or republican (little r) future in the 90s and back towards autocracy. Can't tell the Georgians that they don't have to worry about invasion, or anyone else they border, especially if they get less and less stable.

Africa's also a basket case, and probably will remain so for decades. Invasions like the sort Somalia has seen (neighbors invading simply to defend their own borders from the chaos next door) should be expected.

China's also remained fairly calm, but who knows how they might behave in the future. Never forget it's a highly unstable communist system, with every succession a risk.


RE: F-22A
By Jeffk464 on 5/3/2012 10:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
Africa's also a basket case, and probably will remain so forever.

-- fixed


RE: F-22A
By catavalon21 on 5/3/2012 5:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the USA won't be, but gee, if little ole Iraq feel free to take on Kuwait <misguided or otherwise>, I wonder how China, with an incredibly competent military, who has QUADRUPLED its military budget over the last ten years, feels? Think they would have any qualms at all going after the sources of the bulk of the oil production on Earth if they really wanted too? Imagine what the USA would be doing if IT increased its defense budget fourfold in the last ten years...


RE: F-22A
By gamerk2 on 5/3/2012 1:43:03 PM , Rating: 1
No, the plane is only the response if we are attacked, not the defense.

Our defense comes from our two closest friends; they are named "Atlantic" and "Pacific".


RE: F-22A
By e36Jeff on 5/3/2012 5:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
The reason the life support system is an issue is that, unlike any figher we've built before this one, it actually compresses the outside air. All prior systems in US fighter planes relied on onboard compressed oxygen tanks for supplying life support at altitude.

I'm not making excuses for them, but all the prior knowledge about life support is essentially meaningless as this system has very little in common from a conceptual standpoint.


RE: F-22A
By Jeffk464 on 5/3/2012 10:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
The next most capable is probably the rafael or eurofighter right?


RE: F-22A
By ctgottapee on 5/4/2012 11:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
the sad, sad fact is they have spearheaded nothing, even through the three wars we've created.

we have the bugatti veyron of aircraft, nearly 200 of them that we don't need or use, when what we really needed was a properly armored vehicle that didn't mutilate soldiers while transporting them.


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