US Considered Allowing Export of Fifth Generation F-22 Fighters
In addition to electronics and communications systems, as well as elements responsible for the operation of the stealth system, the aircraft has engines with variable thrust vector and unique avionics. Therefore, the Raptor was not transferred even to the allies - although this was counted on in Japan and especially in Israel. To preserve the status quo, a special amendment to the legislation was invented, known as the Amendment by Congressman David Obey ("The Obey Amendment"). Although both Tokyo and Tel Aviv understood that this was only a formal cover for the real reasons.
The concept of a tactical fighter with more advanced characteristics than the F-15 was developed in the mid-1990s. For the sake of a unique project, specialists from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Dynamics have teamed up. The first Raptor sample was presented in April 1997. However, even then there was no consensus about the mass production and use of the novelty: the plane turned out to be very expensive, and the times of the "cold war" with the collapse of the USSR are a thing of the past.
The serial production program has cost the budget many billions of dollars. The last production F-22 entered the service of the US Air Force in 2012, after which the assembly line was stopped. The combat debut of a fighter is considered to be the performance of missions in the skies over Syria in 2014. Although earlier it was reported about the use of these 5th generation fighters in Afghanistan. True, the meaning is not fully understood. Stealth is hardly advisable for terrorist bombing. Having checked the plane in real conditions, the military-industrial complex lobbyists tried to return to the issue of expanding production - through authorized export sales.
This scheme was hampered by Obi's amendment to the 1998 Defense Appropriations Act. It prevented the transfer of technology of the advanced tactical fighter F-22 to any foreign government. The amendment is still considered valid - although it turned out that at the end of 2009, a separate group of experts was instructed to investigate the possibility of creating a modification of the Raptor with changes in the set of applied technologies that could be sold abroad.
The prototype of the export version was the models of the latest conveyor assemblies. One of the original scenarios involved the use of working lines after the official completion of contracts with the Pentagon - so as not to have the extra costs of restarting after mothballing. With such a scheme, one fighter would cost $ 165 million, with a total estimate of $ 8,3 billion. Taking into account a two-year pause, an export series of 40 aircraft would have cost 11,6 billion, and the “piece price tag” would have grown to 232,5 million for one aircraft. The costs were projected without such additional budgetary burdens as compensation to manufacturers and the cost of training pilots and maintenance personnel, as well as subsequent maintenance.
It is believed that Raptor's technologies are still of interest to competitors - despite the fact that with the advent of the US Air Force the latest F-35 and their modifications, the Pentagon has an alternative set of top-secret developments in its hands, and Russia and China have enough of their own " know-how ". Either way, the source code of the F-22 is still banned from being transferred to anyone other than the US Air Force. And signs indicating a change in the existing alignment are not yet foreseen.
- Nikolay Stalnov
- Official U.S. Department of Defense archive media.defense.gov
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