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Lockheed Martin receives “contract modification” for F-22

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 6:13am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Jason LombergLockheed Martin announced that it had received a $111.4 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force for the 2010 Follow-On Agile Sustainment for the Raptor (FASTeR) sustainment contract. FASTeR entails support for the F-22 fleet, including training systems, customer support, integrated support planning, supply chain management, aircraft modifications and heavy maintenance, sustained engineering, support products and systems engineering.

F-22 Raptor“Our focus in sustaining the F-22 Raptor fleet is total support to our customer by helping enable higher readiness rates, more sorties, faster response and lower life-cycle costs,” said Scott Gray, F-22 Program vice president of sustainment for Lockheed Martin. “Our mature supplier base ensures the F-22 receives efficient support anywhere in the world and provides the fastest, most effective link between customer requirements and delivered capability.”

In the past, I’ve expressed reservations about replacing up to 95% of our combat air fleet with the F-35. By most accounts, the F-22 Raptor is faster and more maneuverable, the “premier air superiority weapon.” While the F-35 is touted as the Swiss Army Knife of fighter aircraft, the F-22 excels at air-to-air combat. No one should be touting this more than Lockheed Martin, but they have “incentives” not to.

The latest F-22 “contract modification” brings the total contract value to $709 million. This is miniscule compared to the F-35 juggernaut. With a contract of $323 billion, the F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. And with the inevitable “requirements creep” setting in (a fixture of every weapons program), costs have steadily inched upwards.

When President Obama capped the Raptor at 187 planes, we heard nary a peep from Lockheed Martin. Despite the fact that an air superiority weapon is vital to our national security, the Raptor’s prime contractor didn’t speak up. Hmm….$709 million vs. $323 billion.

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