Open-Ended Question

The whole reason for extending the F-22 production line by two years is to “bridge” to F-35 production—to keep a warm fifth-generation fighter line going, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wood, deputy chief of staff for plans and programs. Given the Joint Strike Fighter track record—it has already endured a year’s delay in development—the obvious question is what if it happens again. Although to many observers another JSF slow down is a distinct possibility, Wood said that USAF sees “no signs of that yet,” however, he added, if the F-35 failed to materialize on schedule, USAF would call for a “re-look” at building more F-22s. “Our Chief and our Secretary have said they would like more aircraft,” Wood noted, but under the QDR, “183 [F-22s] is the program of record.”