F-22: Ain’t Buying It

I mentioned my email correspondence with Sam Roggeveen, editor of the Interpeter. Here’s a note he sent me regarding a recent post on the increasingly endangered F-22 procurement program:

You raise the possibility that US stimulus spending might find its way

to the arms industry and that items like the F-22 will be offered to
Japan and Australia.

I really wouldn’t worry too much. Arms spending may be stimulatory in
the US, because it is domestic spending. But although Japan and
Australia are not as hard hit by the global financial crisis as the US,
it is biting, so both countries will want to do their stimulus spending
domestically too. If anything, big US weapons projects that rely on
foreign customers (read: JSF) will find the going very tough in this
economic climate.

Ironically, the discussion takes place just as Iraq’s nascent Air Force has put out a formal solicitation of offers (via Defense Industry Daily) for the purchase of 56 counterinsurgency and trainer aircraft, which if concluded would represent the first purchase of combat aircraft in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Needless to say, the F-22 does not figure among the four models in the running.

Oh, and if the F-22 ultimately does get cancelled, no worries. There’s always blimps.

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