Procurement: October 24, 1999


While Congress agreed to restore funding for the F-22 Raptor, it set conditions and requirements designed to set it up for failure in the future. Low-rate production cannot start until the Version 3.0 software successfully integrates the weapons, navigation, communications, and countermeasures. Another requirement blocks any advanced procurement until the Defense Secretary certifies that all goals have been met and that the avionics, stealth, and weapons-delivery systems are fully capable. Afraid that the Air Force will avoid the restrictions on "production aircraft" by accumulating "pre-production" aircraft, Congress limited the number of pre-production airframes to 17 including those that will be used for static ground tests. Congressional opponents of the Raptor expect that the much heralded avionics will fail to perform as advertised, giving them grounds to cancel the whole program.--Stephen V Cole


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