Getting the most combat capability out of the F-22 is proving to be challenging. “The F-22 modernization program is a concern to us,” Pentagon acquisition executive Ash Carter acknowledged earlier this month. The issue deals with the aircraft’s software as it relates to the Increment 3.2 upgrade. This enhancment package “is taking too long to implement,” said David Van Buren, USAF’s top acquisition official, at the same Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on May 19. “We have software that is fully functioning, but does not have all the functionality we want,” explained Carter. Van Buren said Air Force officials are working with F-22 prime contractor Lockheed Martin “to try to speed [Increment 3.2] up, make it more affordable, more economical, and get the capability into the warfighter hands sooner.” Still, getting even some Increment 3.2 functionality into the Raptor cockpit later this decade is slipping to the right. Continue
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.