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Kamis, 25 Agustus 2011

US Air Force Chief Wary Of Raptor F-22 Fighter Export Project

Raptor F-22 Fighter Export Project

DTN News: US Air Force Chief Wary Of Raptor F-22 Fighter Export Project

(NSI News Source Info) NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland, - September 16, 2009: A top U.S. Air Force official expressed doubts on Tuesday about diverting service personnel toward developing an export version of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-22 fighter. The F-22A Raptor advanced tactical fighter entered service with the US Air Force in December 2005. The USAF requirement is for a fighter to replace the F-15, with emphasis on agility, stealth and range.

An export version could keep the production line going even as the Obama administration seeks to end purchases of the advanced combat jet during fiscal 2010, that begins Oct. 1.

But Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said personnel were needed to focus on what he described as higher-priority programs, including a new aerial refueling tanker and a new long-range strike capability.

He termed the proposed F-22 for export as more of a commercial issue than a government issue. "I personally don't see it as being the best use of our acquisition talent," Schwartz told reporters after a speech to the annual meeting of the Air Force Association.

Schwartz, the service's top uniformed officer, said he would talk to members of Congress and their staff to make sure the Air Force understood their intent.

Japan, Israel and Australia have shown interest in buying the supersonic, radar-evading F-22 Raptor, manufactured by Lockheed as its top dogfighter.

Foreign F-22 sales have been banned by a 1998 law aimed at protecting the "stealth" technology and other high-tech features said to make the fighter too good for money to buy.

In its version of a defense spending bill for fiscal 2010, the Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision that, if enacted, would clear the way for an export version "that protects classified and sensitive information, technologies and U.S. warfighting capabilities."

President Barack Obama's 2010 budget request, now moving through Congress, asked to end F-22 production.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week for a $636.3 billion defense spending bill that would cap the U.S. F-22 fleet at 187, down from a Cold War-era plan to buy as many as 750. For years, Japan has sought to buy two squadrons of the F-22, possibly 40 planes, a request that has become more compelling due to tensions with neighboring North Korea.

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