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    F-22 Fighter's Cost Might Be Too Stiff for USAF to Handle

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    Military experts are discussing whether it is worth to continue manufacturing the F-22 fighter jet, as the cost of its operation and maintenance might be a bit too lavish for the Air Force to handle, James Hasik wrote for the Atlantic Council.

    The United States plans to re-start production of the F-22 fighter next year after a five-year reprive. At the direction of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in 2009, the production of the F-22 was terminated after producing just 187 aircraft, which was far short of the original requirement of 749 jets.

    A number of US defense magazines have already been discussing whether it would be worth to re-start the production of the F-22.

    Some argue the US Air Force should have more F-22s due to their technical edge over other fighter jets, namely the F-35A.

    Others say that the price tag for F-22 could be too much for the Air Force to bear.

    "The bigger problem may be economic. At issue is more than potentially alarming restart costs; the F-22s are very expensive to operate, and the USAF knows so," Hasik, who a senior research fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, wrote for the Atlantic Council.

    The average cost of a flight hour for the F-22 is $68,362, while for the F-16 it's almost three times less — $22,514, according to the US magazine.

    What's interesting is the operating cost of the F-22 will be even more expensive than the new F-35, which will cost around $42,000 per hour.

    Amid all these talks, the EU government sent a couple of F-22 Raptors to an air base in Romania to counter an alleged Russian aggression.

    "Today, I would like to highlight this deployment as a demonstration of our promise to support Romania and the rest of our NATO allies," Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray said in an Air Force press release. "Romania is one of our strongest allies."

    The F-22 was designed as an air superiority fighter, but can also be used for ground attacks, electronic warfare and signals intelligence. Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor for the F-22 fighter jet.

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    Tags:
    operating cost, production cost, F-22 Raptor, US Air Force, United States
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