DoD Buzz

F-22 Mission Rate "Troubling;" Faces Huge Upgrade Costs

What would cost $8 billion, has a mission capable rate that is a "troubling" 62 percent and "is proving very expensive to operate?" The answer: 100 upgraded F-22s.

John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, offered those statistics at breakfast this morning in an apparent effort to explain just why the Defense Department does not want to buy more than the currently projected number of 183 F-22s.

Young piled on, saying the plane "still does not meet most of its KPPs (Key Performance Parameters)." But it's not just pure operational shortcomings that have Young worried. "The airplane is proving very expensive to operate.. and it is complex to maintain."

Of the $8 billion to upgrade the planes, Young said $6.3 billion would be research and development "for a plane that is already in production."

While he did not expand on the issue, Young also raised one potentially very troubling factor, noting that the F-22 program is "struggling" with its low observable capabilities and "other issues." Young may have been referring to corrosion problems that reportedly affect the plane's stealthiness.

A congressional aide who supports buying more F-22s reacted to Young's comments with a certain understatement: "Yep, the F-22 is the only DoD program we’ve ever had problems with in not meeting expectations..."

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