Multiyear Shutdown

No matter what option is chosen to handle the shutdown of the F-22 production line, the price tag will not be borne in a single year, say officials in the F-22 program office at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. “It’s a three-year lead time” to build aircraft, “so, if you think about it, it’s kind of a three-year shutdown process,” Glenn Miller, a support contractor in the office, told the Daily Report during a base visit last week. The Air Force has included $64 million in its Fiscal 2010 budget proposal to apply towards the shutdown costs. But Miller and Vince Lewis, chief of capabilities planning and integration in the office, said there would also have to be funding included in Fiscal 2011 and 2012 for this purpose. No specific amounts were discussed since the Air Force is still in the midst of determining the type of line shutdown that it will pursue, with options ranging from retaining some tooling in storage to completely dismantling production capacity for the stealth fighter. Lewis said the 141st Raptor came off Lockheed Martin’s assembly line last week. Based on current estimates, the final Raptors in the current 187-aircraft program of record would roll off of the line around February 2012, he said. (For more Raptor coverage from the Daily Report’s interview with the F-22 program office, read The Trend Line is Positive.)