A Modest Proposal on the F-22

Lockheed Martin and the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area has been doing an awful lot of hand wringing over the impending doom closure of F-22 assembly lines. Senators John Coryn and James Inafoe, both long time Raptor advocates, have argued that closing the Raptor plants would cause massive "disruptions and layoffs," and that Congress should green light $531 million for 20 additional F-22s in FY-2009.Here's a solution: let the Aussies foot the bill. Australia is so hot for the Raptor, they'd probably trade in New Zealand for a couple of squadrons. And their loyalty can hardly be called into question, Australia has been spilling the same blood in the same mud with us since the first World War.Raptor.jpgThe real issue is whether or not we can trust them to keep the F-22's technology under lock and key. Secretary Gates says we can, but Congress hasn't budged on foreign sales.If you asked in July, most in the defense community would -in all likelihood- favor keeping the Raptor restricted to the USAF. Then Russia went and invaded Georgia in August and suddenly all those big ticket, Russian-killing weapon systems became cool again.So with a newly aggressive Russian in mind, let the Aussies keep our production lines open -and perhaps the equally interested Japanese, with an assurance that they don't use the Raptor to attack Pearl Harbor again- while Congress and the Pentagon figure out just how many jets they want.Sans the technology security concerns, that's a win-win solution. We get more superbad Raptors flying for the home team, and the greater number of jets that are pushed through Lockheed's production lines, the cheaper the F-22 becomes for the USAF to purchase.Hey, a well-armed ally is a happy ally, y'know?-John Noonan

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