The US Air Force reports that when the 147-million-dollar cost
of shutting down the production line for the F-22 is spread over
the cost of the last four aircraft to be delivered, those last four
Raptors will end up costing 196-million dollars each, an increase
of about a third over previous F-22s.
Reuters reports the Air Force hopes to reduce those
end-of-production costs through negotiation. Lockheed Martin says
those talks have not yet begun.
While it sounds like a startling increase in per-plane costs, those
numbers are somewhat abstract. For years, critics of the F-22's
cost have pointed out that if you consider development expenses, as
would be done in many civilian development programs, the per-plane
price tag is more like 350-million dollars.
Lockheed and Boeing have both produced the F-22. US Defense
Secretary Robert Gates announced a few weeks ago that production
would not be extended past this year, despite The Air Force's claim
it needs more Raptors, and lots of wailing from Congress. Lawmakers
from 40 states have constituents with some role in building the