A Quality Product

With just slightly more than two weeks to go until President Obama must choose whether to keep the F-22 in production, Lockheed Martin is portraying the airplane as a model program exceeding expectations. Larry Lawson, Lockheed’s program manager, told the Daily Report yesterday that nearly half of the F-22s delivered last year had zero defects—an “unprecedented” achievement in fighters, he said. “There are some fighter programs … that have never delivered a zero-defect aircraft,” even at maturity, Lawson said. (Note his emphasis on “never”) And, none have been as complex as the F-22. The learning curve is the highest ever seen for a fighter, costs are down about a third from early lots, and the Raptor has enjoyed wild success in Northern Edge and Red Flag exercises, he said.