The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $64-?million modification to a previous contract to repair F-22 No. 02-4037, which was damaged in a training accident at Tyndall AFB, Fla., in 2012. In the mishap, the trainee pilot, on his third F-22 sortie, raised the landing gear prematurely on takeoff. The jet settled back on the runway and skidded about 3,400 feet. At the time, an accident board estimated the cost to repair at $34 million. The jet is now at Ogden Air Logistics Center, according to a Lockheed Martin spokesman, but the remaining work will be done at Hill AFB, Utah; the repairs are expected to take four years. An Air Force official said USAF will likely fix any grounded F-22s, if repairable, given the extremely small size of the fleet and the type’s importance to air dominance. Another candidate repairable aircraft is Raptor 06, the sixth test article, which is grounded at Edwards AFB, Calif. There’s no estimate of how much it would cost to remove the jet’s flight test instrumentation, repair it, and bring it up to the current configuration, but USAF and Lockheed officials said they are “studying” the feasibility.
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.