Foreign Raptors: Gen. Michael Moseley thinks he would be comfortable with allied nations operating the super-sophisticated F-22. (The House has included a provision for Raptor foreign sales in its version of the 2007 defense appropriations bill.) However, the Air Force Chief of Staff believes there would have to be some heavy discussion about it—who would get them, for how much, and when. “We will have to go back and recalculate,” Moseley said. He explained: “If the collective community believes that’s do-able, do those airplanes come out of the existing [production] line or are they added? If they are additive, what does that do to the line, what does that do to a potential multiyear [buy of F-22s]? I don’t know yet. Those are the operative questions.” Moseley said he would have to assemble a team to work the issue, and that the topics would probably mirror those that have come up on the F-35—technology transfer and sovereign operations. Still, “strategic partnering” on programs like the F-16 and F-35, with their “airman-to-airman habitual relationship” is “an inherent good for us,” Moseley asserted. Such a partnership on the F-22 may be another one. He remains open to the possibility.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.