Considering Overseas Raptor Sales Again?:

Congress could take up the issue of foreign sales of the Air Force’s new F-22A stealth fighter, in particular to Pacific ally Japan. A recent Congressional Research Service report notes that such sales are currently prohibited, but offers pros and cons for lawmakers who may want to “again consider repealing this ban.” Last year, House appropriators had approved foreign sales, but conferees stripped the provision from the 2007 defense appropriations bill. As CRS notes, selling the new fighter to Japan would benefit US industry, especially since the budget-strapped Air Force has been forced to cut its buy to only 183 Raptors. Air Force leaders maintain the service needs at least 381, but the money isn’t there and the end of the production line is looming. The Air Force recently deployed 12 F-22s to the Pacific region, giving the Japanese Air Self Defense Force a close-up look at the new fighter—certainly whetting their appetite. CRS acknowledges that Japan traditionally has safeguarded imported technology, but that the potential exists for an “inadvertent leak.” Selling to Japan might also prompt other allies to expect the same consideration.