F-22 Options Presented

The estimated costs of procuring an additional 75 F-22 stealth fighters beyond the current program of record would vary between $13.7 billion and $19 billion out to Fiscal 2016, depending on which of three production schedules the Air Force chose, according to RAND analysts. In a report presented to USAF last week, RAND found that continuing F-22 production uninterrupted at rates of 20 aircraft per year in Fiscal 2010, 2011, and 2012, and then 15 in 2013, would be the most affordable scenario for acquiring the 75 airplanes, costing $13.7 billion, with an average unit flyaway cost of $145 million. The next option, warm production (i.e., continuing production but at a reduced rate), would cost $17.7 billion, with a flyaway cost of $170 million, RAND states. The third option is the most expensive at $19 billion, with a unit flyaway cost of $200 million, because it entails shutting down Raptor production for two years and then restarting the line. USAF is currently authorized only to purchase 183 F-22s, with the final 60 being procured under a three-year multiyear contract with Lockheed Martin that concludes next year. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has deferred the decision on what to do next to the new Administration. Lockheed Martin has said it needs new orders by November to avoid a disruption to its supplier base and ensure the continuity of the production line. RAND found that shutting down the line for good after the current buy likely would have $85 million in direct costs. Shutting down the line and then restarting it, as the third option lays out, likely would cost $450 million. This option also carries with it the additional costs of a second shutdown, which would bump that total up to $555 million, RAND states. RAND conducted the study at USAF’s request.