“Bare Minimums”

If the grounded F-15 A-D fleet truly is broken and can’t be brought back to service, it might be possible to get the F-22 production rate up from 20 a year to 24 right away, but not beyond 30, according to USAF’s strategic planning director Maj. Gen. Paul Selva. Lockheed Martin has produced the F-22 at 24 a year and could go as high as 30. To go beyond that would not be easy, and it’s not just a matter of money, Selva said. The supplier base could not easily gear up for larger numbers, and it would cost “billions” to expand Lockheed’s facilities, then find, train, and certify workers to build the airplanes. “This is what happens when you take your defense industrial base down to bare minimums,” Selva said.