Not More Raptors, Just Slower Line

It could be that the current Air Force leadership has given up on getting more than 180 F/A-22 fighters, or, perhaps, they are taking advice from retired Gen. Richard Hawley. The Lexington Institute’s well-informed Loren Thompson tells us that there is discussion of reducing the annual production rate to cover the gap between the end of the Raptor line and the start of the Joint Strike Fighter’s flight testing in 2010. “There is a danger in closing the line of our only stealth fighter,” Thompson said. If the JSF experiences any delays or problems, the military would have a period of two years where no modern stealth aircraft would be produced.