Air Force and industry officials challenged those within the Pentagon who would seek to cut the numbers of F/A-22 Raptors. At several venues at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, officials maintained the new stealthy fighter is crucial to continued US air dominance. Maj. Gen. Richard Lewis, the Raptor program executive officer, said the fighter’s advanced capabilities and sophisticated weapons are crucial in the face of known future threats. “I think we’ve undersold the airplane in the past,” Lewis said at the conference.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.