The Mil & Aero Blog
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
  F-22 program shot down

Posted by John McHale

President Obama's first major defense budget cut got past a major hurdle last month when both houses of Congress agreed last week to cut F-22 funding from a new bill, despite speculation that they might fight to keep the program alive to save jobs.

Specifically the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate removed funding for additional F-22 jets in an appropriations bill with $636.3 billion for military spending for 2010. In other words the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will likely now stop F-22 procurement at 187 aircraft.

What does this mean for the industry? Too soon to tell. The F-22 prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, will most likely make major job cuts once it is official and this could lead to further job cuts at second and third their suppliers to the program.

But will it be the 90,000 plus layoffs that some in congress and at Lockheed have predicted? I don't think it will get that high.

The 2010 budget request -- which focuses on increased funding for special forces, unmanned systems, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- makes sense for today's world. I'd like to think these funding areas represent new opportunities for electronics designers and integrators and that the defense market will remain steady if not grow stronger, despite the end of F-22 production.

One thing that I do find ironic however is that while one major program was practically canceled this past month the DOD rolled out a number of new aircraft over the same time period -- a new Global Hawk, the P-8A Poseidon, the new Navy Stealth Fighter, and a second E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to name a few.

That's a lot of roll outs. Coincidence?

Probably.
 
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