Rising Sun Raptors

John Murtha (D-Pa.) Wednesday said the idea of letting Japan buy the F-22 is attractive, because “if you want to prevent [a war], you have to have the equipment in place so that somebody doesn’t miscalculate.” The chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee said China is a certain future competitor with the US for energy and other raw materials, and in that region, “there should be somebody else besides us” with F-22s. However, Murtha thinks it will be very expensive to render the F-22 suitable for export by reducing some of its capabilities, and the bill may be too high for Japan. An amendment bearing the name of David Obey (D-Wisc.) bans the foreign sale of the F-22, but Murtha told reporters that he and Obey will meet to discuss it. “He’s willing to listen,” Murtha said. If there is a production gap before more can be built for Japan, “one thing for sure, you’re going to lose all the skills you have if you go three years without building an F-22.” Such a slip, and the consequent need to reopen the line, may make the cost prohibitive. “If we don’t continue [the F-22], I don’t see any way the Japanese could come up with enough money that they could buy it.”