No Pushback Here

Anyone hoping that export orders would rescue the F-22 program from potential near-term shutdown will get no cheer from the Air Force leadership. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told defense reporters Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C., that, for the moment, he won’t challenge the so-called Obey Amendment, which bars selling the F-22 overseas. “There are legitimate issues related to [F-22] technology … that are problematic from an export point of view,” Schwartz said. While it may be possible to modify the F-22 in order to protect its most valuable secrets, it’s “not a sufficiently high priority” right to spend the money on that, he said. “Whether or not Obey is amended is less an issue for me than the pragmatic consideration of what it would take … to make the F-22 exportable,” he continued. Schwartz said later exportability is something that “has to be designed in at the beginning” of a program, suggesting that wasn’t done on the F-22. It was done on the multinational F-35, and he has no issues with that program’s export. (For more on the F-22 export debate, read Raptor Roulette.)