F-22 Production Officially Approved.
In August, the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) approved the F-22 air-superiority fighter entry into low-rate initial production (LRIP). Lockheed Martin (Marietta, GA) will build ten F-22s in FY01 and 13 in FY02. There are currently eight test-version F-22s flying. Pete Aldridge, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, said that the DAB unanimously approved LRIP, which will run through FY05, then shift into full-rate production. The DAB also cut the total number of F-22s to be produced from 331 to 295 (see "Raptor Rising," September 2001, p.46). Production of the AN/ALR-94(V) EW system and AN/APG-77(V) radar will track with the airframe production.
The decision requires the Defense Department and the Air Force to seek a lifting of the F-22's current $37.6-billion budget cap. The production budget would rise to $45 billion, with research, development, and testing of the aircraft costing about $18 billion, thus raising the total program cost to about $63 billion. The DAB found a difference between the cost estimates of the Air Force and that of an independent Cost Analysis Improvement Group. The Air Force estimated greater savings than the independent group once the F-22 enters full-rate production, Aldridge explained. So the board decided to accept the Air Force program cost estimates, but the independent group's estimate of the number of aircraft the money will buy. The decision gives the Air Force incentive to achieve the savings it forecasted. "If the Air Force can, in fact, get the cost estimate at their level, they can buy more airplanes," Aldridge said.
LRIP is set to rise to 30 aircraft in FY05, with full-rate production beginning in FY06. Aldridge pointed out, however, that these plans could change based on budget or fiscal change, or the results of the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review.
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|Publication:||Journal of Electronic Defense|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2001|
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