Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed his intention to end production of the F-22 fighter jet, an expensive weapons system that has not flown a single mission in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. The defense contractor Lockheed Martin had been pouring money into a “publicity campaign” and engaging in “congressional lobbying efforts” to maintain funding for the F-22. But, it appears Lockheed is now conceding that the days of the F-22 are numbered:
[Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce] Tanner said Lockheed tried to fight for continuation of the F-22 program, but indicated the company had all but given up.
“We’ve had our chance to lobby this matter, we think we’ve had a full hearing of that discussion and we’re disappointed by the decisions, but we’ll accept those and go on,” he said.
Lockheed anticipates that many of the jobs associated with the F-22 production will now be channeled into the production of the the cargo plane C-130J program. While Lockheed is backing down, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) “said he wasn’t giving up continuing the program just yet but acknowledged the program’s future doesn’t look bright.”