Reviving production of the U.S. military’s pricey F-22 Raptor jet may not be so far-fetched after all, Bloomberg News reports.
Although canceled over cost a few years ago, the stealth fighter still has its supporters and now a House subcommittee has asked Air Force to investigate what it would cost to begin building the aircraft again, Bloomberg reported this week.
A reboot could mean adding 194 new F-22 jets, more than doubling the number now in service at a time when Russia and China are increasing production of their own advanced fighters.
In 2014 the F-22 was used in combat operations against ISIS militants in Syria.
In August, aerospace consultant Teal Group called canceling the F-22 in 2009 “an unexpected way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” Bloomberg reported.
Still there’s a reason why the plane, praised for its ability in the sky, got the axe.
The F-22 ending up costing about $140 million a plane. and that's not counting the billions of dollars spent in development, Bloomberg reported while also pointing out that the aircraft's per-hour cost to fly, at $44,000, is higher than that of most of the Pentagon’s air fleet.
Another hurdle is the impact reviving the F-22 could have on military’s newest fighter, the F-35, which Bloomberg reported has an average cost per plane of $106 million and a lower per-hour cost to fly than the F-22.
The F-35 has grown into the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons program in history with a projected final cost of $379 billion for a planned fleet of 2,443, according to Bloomberg.
Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-22, as well as the F-35, is going along with the F-22 review, Bloomberg reported.
The firm is giving the Air Force “any information and data” needed, a spokesman said.
An Air Force spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the future of the F-22 review, if any, would become clearer once Congress passes an overall defense budget.