Remember the F-22 Raptor?
You’d be forgiven if you don’t, as the stealth fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin in the 1990s was a colossal failure by almost any measure.
Not only did the F-22 cost upwards of $137 million per jet — more than any other jet in history — but the pilots have been repeatedly deprived by oxygen and nearly killed because of faulty engineering. As a result, only 196 of the originally proposed 500 jets were actually built.
“I think the idea of shrinking our military to try to get closer to the budget is the wrong place to look,” Romney said in Virginia on Saturday. “I would add more F-22s and add more than 100,000 active duty personnel to our military team.”
As Wired Magazine pointed out, restarting the F-22 production line is very unlikely, and even longtime Lockheed advocate Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute outlined the many expensive obstacles.
The current next-generation fighter jet under production, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has plenty of its own problems, as the Weekly reported in a cover story this summer, but the F-22 is arguably even worse.
With $500 billion in defense cuts looming if Congress doesn’t find other places to cut from the federal deficit, Romney’s suggestion to start building more F-22s is out of touch at best and downright ludicrous at worst, especially when the military has already chided Lockheed for its failure to keep costs down on the F-35.
Add to that the evidence that defense spending yields a poor return on job creation, and it’s hard to understand how anyone could argue for more defense money during a deep, lasting recession caused by two foreign wars more than anything else.