Knives Out for Raptor Plan

Rhetoric heated up fast at the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee’s Tuesday hearing on USAF’s proposed multiyear procurement approach for the new F-22A fighter. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairing the hearing, said he did not believe the Air Force had justified its business case, which, in his view, did not meet the six criteria required under US code to approve such a plan. On defense, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said that the justification package the Air Force submitted to Congress on May 16 provided a solid foundation for the plan, which would accelerate production deliveries of 37 F-22A Raptors between 2004 and the end of 2006. (Read his written testimony here.) The plan, maintained Wynne, would return the program to the original contract schedule and would achieve an “overall reduction” in the unit flyaway cost by more than 23 percent over the same time period.