Le Bourget, France —The Air Force is conducting a “should cost” analysis on the F-22 improvement program, said USAF acquisition executive David Van Buren here Tuesday at the Paris Air Show. Van Buren acknowledged that outyears funding for F-22 enhancements has declined from about $7 billion to less than $4 billion. He said much of that has to do with the fact that “some content has shifted out.” Among that content were data links. However, the F-22 is still “robustly funded” and the deleted items “may come back later,” he said. The F-22 is one of several high-priority programs for which Air Force officials are performing the “should cost” analysis, he said. Van Buren expects to get some answers on an upcoming trip to Marietta, Ga., where Lockheed Martin assembles the F-22.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.