US Senate to End Production of the F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet, Favoring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

July 21, 2009, By Alex Ion

The U.S. Senate voted 58 to 40 to  to cut $1.75 billion in funding from the 2010 Defense budget and to halt production of seven more F-22 Raptor fighter jets, after President Barrack Obama threatened to veto any measure that involved more F-22s.

F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet

“At a time when we’re fighting two wars and facing a serious deficit, this would have been an inexcusable waste of money,” said Obama at the White House.

Though they don’t like the decision, Lockheed is going to “support the U.S. government’s final decision on the F-22 program” even though there are 25,000 direct jobs and 95,000 indirect jobs at stake.

Lockheed Martin Corp lost about 8% on the market after the vote.

But things don’t look so bad for the company. Instead of the F-22 Raptor the Defense Department favors the F-35 Lightning II or Joint Strike Fighter, by the same Lockheed. It’s a “half-generation newer aircraft than the F-22 and more capable in a number of areas such as electronic warfare and combating enemy air defenses,” said Defense Secretary, Robert Gates.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Although some would say that the F-22 is the “world class fighter” the US needs, the Pentagon plans to buy some 500 F-35s over the next five years, up to a total of 2,400 jets.

So is it a budget cut, or more like a budget ballooning with the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the works? It remains to be seen how ditching the F-22 is going to affect the United States’ air dominance and security!

[via Bloomberg]

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