Team delivers initial report on F/A-22 cost increases

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker
  • Air Force Print News
The team of technical and financial experts sent by the Air Force to investigate a potential cost overrun in the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the F/A-22 Raptor program recently completed its initial report.

The team estimated that the cost increase would be between $700 million and $1 billion, said Dr. Marvin R. Sambur, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, in a Dec. 6 Pentagon briefing.

The increase is being driven by schedule extensions caused in large part to resolving development issues with avionics software stability and fin buffeting, and not by aircraft performance issues.

"The aircraft continues to perform superbly in flight tests and is demonstrating those revolutionary capabilities we expect it to deliver," Sambur said.

To cover the estimated increase, the Air Force will not ask for additional funding but will instead source the cost from within the current funding of the F/A-22 program.

This could mean that the Air Force may have to reduce the number of Raptors it purchases by five or six aircraft.

"We have to show that we're committed to this program," Sambur said. "There is tremendous pressure on us to keep (this increase) as small as possible.

"The (F/A-22) program is more fragile than a lot of people realize. There comes a certain point where if we continue having significant issues the Air Force will have to go back and re-evaluate the program."

Sambur said that these cost increases cannot continue unchecked, and the service may be forced to "draw a line in the sand."

However, because the Raptor remains the cornerstone of the Air Force's planned transformation efforts, the service and the contractor are working closely together to implement recommendations by the team that could significantly reduce the estimated cost increases.

"We are fully committed to completing the development phase of the program and delivering a fully operational aircraft to the warfighters by the planned initial operational capability date in 2005," Sambur said.