Lockheed Martin Delivers the Last F-22 Raptor to USAF
May 3, 2012 8:00 AM
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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
were investigated. Ultimately, the fleet of Raptors was returned to the skies with no official determination on cause of some pilot issues.
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5/3/2012 12:24:18 PM
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
. It's not like Lockheed can sell any excess planes to China or Russia. In fact, it's forbidden.
5/3/2012 2:56:36 PM
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.
“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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