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Hatch and Inhofe on F-22

3:56 PM, Jul 14, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Senators Hatch and Inhofe cobyline an op-ed in the Desert News pushing back against last week's Washington Post piece that was itself pushback against Congressional efforts to overturn the administration decision to kill the program. The senators attempt to rebut the allegations made in the Washington Post point by point, but they make one of the most compelling arguments in favor of continued production with this:

Well, if the F-22 is a Cold War dinosaur with uneconomical maintenance problems, why then do the Japanese, Australian and Israeli governments continue to express considerable interest in purchasing the Raptor? Why has the Pentagon prevented its deployment to the Persian Gulf, citing concerns of "strategic dislocation?"

Perhaps it is because nations realize the F-22 is the only fighter/bomber that can successfully defeat and destroy the air and ground threats of today and tomorrow. The F-22 is an unrivaled deterrent to any nation that threatens the United States or its allies.

Supporters of the F-22 want to keep the production line open long enough to repeal the Obey Amendment that prohibits foreign sales of the aircraft and sell the plane to close allies that are willing to pour billions of dollars into U.S. industry and keep a valuable combat asset in theater to deter aggression and assist U.S. forces in a potential conflict. The problem with that plan is that any Japanese or Australian or Israeli investment in F-22 might preclude investment by those same countries in the Joint Strike Fighter.

F-22 is a major threat to JSF, and more than a few of those crusading against "wasteful spending" on F-22 merely have a stake in another aircraft with a very similar history of cost overruns. These supporters of JSF ought to explain why the Japanese and the Australians and the Israelis want F-22 in the first place. After all, if the administration and its defenders are not arguing that JSF is superior to F-22, they must be arguing that it is a more cost-effective aircraft. The only obvious explanation, then, is that our allies are using a very different methodology than the Obama administration for evaluating the F-22's cost-effectiveness.