According to Lockheed Martin’s chief financial officer, the company has thrown in the towel over the curtailment of the F-22 Raptor program announced earlier this month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Bruce Tanner, Lockheed executive vice president and CFO, told financial analysts April 21 during a quarterly conference call, that company officials “had our chance to lobby this matter,” according to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram report. Tanner went on to say, “We are disappointed by the decisions, but we will accept those and go on.” He added, “The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and others within the Pentagon are all completely aligned on this matter from top to bottom.” The New York Times reports that Tanner expects the Raptor production line in Marietta, Ga., to continue through 2011, at which point, he thinks most of the Georgia workers would shift to other company projects. Lockheed had predicted premature closure of the F-22 line would cost some 25,000 jobs within the company and its supplier base. According to an Associated Press report, which notes that the Georgia facility employs some 2,000 workers, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) still plans to fight for an additional 60 Raptors. That would bring the total buy to 243 fighters, which is the number that Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, recently confirmed is the military requirement.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.