Military


F-22 Raptor Production

The F-22 air superiority fighter is being developed to replace the aging F-15 aircraft, with Initial Operational Capability achieved in December 2005. The Air Force was initially projected to obtain a total of 339 aircraft. The F-15 fleet is experiencing problems with avionics parts obsolescence, and the average age of the fleet will be more than 30 years when the last F-22 is delivered. But the current inventory of F-15s can be economically maintained in a structurally sound condition until 2015 or later. None of the 918 F-15s that were in the inventory in July 1992 would begin to exceed their expected economic service lives until 2014. The Pentagon's Program Analysis and Evaluation Directorate [PA&E] had concluded that the Joint Strike Fighter can assume the air-to-surface attack role, and that service life can be further extended on the F-15Cs to continue their air-to-air function as the F-22 enters service. Some F-15Cs could reach an unprecedented 40 years of age before retiring.

Low rate production of the F-22 was initially scheduled to begin in FY99. The aircraft production rate was to gradually increase to 36 aircraft per year in FY 2004, and was to continue that rate until all 339 aircraft had been built (projected to be complete in 2013).

In August 2001 a total Raptor procurement of 295-to-339 aircraft was approved by defense acquisition chief Pete Aldridge.

The Defense Acquisition Board approved the F-22 Raptor to enter low-rate initial production, Pentagon officials announced 15 August 2001. The decision meant Lockheed-Martin would build 10 F-22s using fiscal 2001 funds, and 13 in fiscal 2002. At that time there were eight F-22s flying. The board's decision required the Defense Department and the Air Force to seek a lift in the F-22's $37.6 billion budget cap. The production budget would rise to $45 billion. Research, development and testing of the aircraft cost about $18 billion, raising the total cost to about $63 billion. The acquisition board also cut the total number of F-22s to be produced from 331 to 295. The board reached this decision because of a difference in the cost estimates between the Air Force and the independent Cost Analysis Improvement Group. The Air Force estimated greater savings than the independent group once the F-22 enters high-rate production. Low-rate production was set to rise to 30 aircraft in fiscal 2005. High-rate production called for 90 aircraft per year beginning in fiscal 2006.

A September 2002 Air Force study suggested a need for 381 F-22 fighter jets, rejecting a suggestion in early 2002 the Office of the Secretary of Defense that 180 Raptors would suffice. A total of 381 F-22s would provide one F-22 squadron per Air Expeditionary Force [AEF], along with the aircraft for training, testing, backup aircraft inventory and peacetime attrition reserve. Earlier in 2002, Air Force officials began citing 381 as a more usable force size. As of late 2002 there was speculation that Secretary Rumsfeld might order a cut to 239 planes, while leaving the F/A-22 production schedule through 2009 unchanged, with the decision on whether to exceed 239 planes would falling to a successor defense secretary.

OSD restructured the F-22A acquisition program in December 2004 and December 2005 to free up funds for other priorities. In December 2004, OSD reduced the program to 179 F-22As to save about $10.5 billion. This budget decision also terminated procurement in 2008. Then in December 2005, OSD changed the F-22A program again, adding $1 billion to extend production for 2 years to ensure a 5th generation fighter aircraft production line would remain in operation in case the Joint Strike Fighter experienced delays or problems. OSD also added 4 aircraft for a total planned procurement of 183 F-22As.

On 17 January 2008 the Associated Press reported that the Defense Department's planned FY2009 budget request would include four additional F-22A Raptors beyond the current contract. In a letter to lawmakers, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England stated that "the department is planning to keep the F-22 production line open" by requesting four more F-22s to replace un-specified "war-related losses" of other aircraft, increasing the total buy to 187 aircraft.

According to Air Force officials, a minimum of 381 F-22A aircraft are needed to satisfy today's national security requirements, yet OSD stated it can only afford to buy 187 F-22A aircraft. This results in a 194-aircraft gap in capability. Additionally, the Air Force stated a "need" for greater ground attack and intelligence-gathering capabilities, not included in the existing business case that will require an extensive modernization program.

The Air Force states a need for one squadron of 24 F-22A aircraft for each of the 10 Air Expeditionary Forces, the planned organization of the Air Force aircraft and personnel for operations and deployments. This requirement was established to carry out missions including support in major regional conflicts, home land security, and others. According to the Air Force, this requires a total of 381 F-22As, 240 primary aircraft and 141 aircraft for training, attrition, and to allow for periodic aircraft depot maintenance. The Air Force stated that if all 381 aircraft are acquired, the Air Force could retire about 566 legacy aircraft; if not, several billions of modification dollars will be required to extend their structural life to keep them operational.

The F-22 Raptor's $143 million price tag per aircraft, along with the the declining state of the US economy and changes in the military requirements for post Cold-War challenges, led government officials to make the decision to officially cease production of the F-22 in 2009.

The final F-22 Raptor to be built for the US Air Force, tail number 4195, rolled off the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics assembly line during a ceremony on 13 December 2011 at the company's Marietta plant. The aircraft was the last of 187 F-22s produced. Another 8 aircraft had been produced for developmental purposes.



1998 Planned Production Lots

Lot Sizes

Contract Award
(Calendar Year)
Aircraft are to be delivered approximately two years after contract award.

Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTV)

2 1998
[FY1999]
Lot 1
(PRTV)
6 1999
[FY2000]
Lot 2
10 2001
[FY2001]
Lot 3
16 2001
Lot 4
24 2002
Lots 5-11
36 per year Yearly 2003-2009
Lot 12
29 2010


2006 Planned Production Lots

Lot Sizes

Contract Award
(Calendar Year)
Aircraft are to be delivered approximately two years after contract award.

Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTV)

2 1998
[FY1999]
Lot 1
10 2001
Lot 2
13 2002
Lot 3
21 2003
Lot 4
22 2004
Lots 5
24 2005
Lot 6
24 2006
0 2007
Lots 7
20 2008
Lot 8
20 2009
Lot 9
20 2010



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