Critical acquisition personnel could be better used on crucial programs such as the KC-X tanker and the long range bomber instead of developing an export version of the F-22, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told reporters Tuesday.
"I personally don't see it as the best use of our acquisition talent," Schwartz said. The general made it clear he doesn't think much of the idea of an export version, saying he thought it was more of an issue for the "commercial" world, as opposed to the military.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, in particular its chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye, wants the Pentagon to work on an export version of the F-22 so Japan and other countries could buy it. Existing law forbids the sale of F-22s to any foreign country.
Buzz readers will remember that Air Force Secretary Donley said Monday that he and Schwartz believed they made the right decision in stopping F-22 production at 187 planes. Given the enormous amount of political capital the Air Force leadership expended in taking that decision and sticking by it, it's hard to fathom why they would support using Air Force personnel on a foreign version of the plane. Of course, if the Senate language becomes law, they may have no choice.