Congress has refused to continue funding the F22. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124821970259970233.html). To this I say congratulations.
This is the right move even though it is tough politically. Lockheed, which builds the now decade old next generation fighter, is the nation's largest defense contractor by a long shot. More importantly, lockheed has the political savvy that comes with owning over 30% market share of the huge defense contract spending budget.
Lockheed builds the F22 in 44 states and several allied countries, so the jobs argument is spread far and wide. Far enough that 15 dems voted against the budget cut. That, despite the fact that the F22 never flew in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Of course, thirty percent market share means that Lockheed builds both the F22, which lives in the dreams of grown boys like me, who still long to go to work at the crack of dawn, strap on several thousand pounds of thrust and blaze into the dawn sky, and also the UAVs that made the F22 obsolete. Why send a man at all if dogfighting is done over the horizon by missile. The atmospheric controls, ejection seat, and control consoles have moved out to make way for more ordnance. Not to mention the fact that even dogfighting - were it ever necessary - would be best off in a UAV, which can pull g forces no human could sustain. Oh, and they are a fraction of the price and the pilots have breakfast with their families before heading to their remote piloting centers and they always come home.
And before I get a lot if comments on bloated budgets or the lack of dem military support, know that Chambliss tried to keep this program alive with $850m from the defense maintenance account. That the bread and butter account, sending parts, armor and fuel to the troops currently in harms way. Folks on both sides of the aisle and nipped it in the bud. It was gross behavior and I am glad congress rose above it.
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