Production of the F-22s by Lockheed Martin ended in 2009 after the military bought 187 planes, far short of the initial planned buy of 749 aircraft. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
By 4/19/16 4:32 PM
Increasing threats from China and Russia are causing some lawmakers to look at restarting the F-22 fighter production line, a House Armed Services Committee staffer said Tuesday.
The draft defense authorization bill from the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces requires the Air Force to deliver a report to Congress by Jan. 1, 2017, detailing future aircraft shortfalls and what it would cost to buy more F-22s.
“In light of growing threats to U.S. air superiority as a result of adversaries closing the technology gap and increasing demand from allies and partners for high-performance, multi-role aircraft to meet evolving and worsening global security threats, the committee believes that such proposals are worthy of further exploration,” the draft bill says.
The decision to give the F-22 another look is being driven by changes in the world order, including the rise of China and Russia, according to committee staff.
“Some of the assumptions that might have led to those decisions [to not buy more F-22s], some members are concerned about it,” the staffer said.
Production of the F-22s by Lockheed Martin ended in 2009 after the military bought 187 planes, far short of the initial planned buy of 749 aircraft.
The committee is asking the Air Force to provide cost estimates for another 194 F-22s.
The committee staffer said the report was included in the bill at the request of a member, but declined to say which lawmaker. The staffer also stressed that the bill requires only looking at restarting the F-22 production line, and is not a sign that Congress will actually support such a measure.
“I’m going to take a wild guess and guess it would be very expensive,” the committee staff member said.