Our guest blogger is Kera Bartlett, an intern with Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities at the Center for American Progress. Kera is a recent graduate of the Diplomacy and World Affairs program at Occidental College.
As Congress fights against the President and Defense Department to fund additional F-22 fighters, a reopened lawsuit alleges that producer Lockheed Martin has knowingly supplied defective F-22 Raptors to the U.S. Air Force since 1995.
The pending lawsuit, filed by Lockheed-trained stealth expert Darrol Olsen, accuses Lockheed of knowingly using defective coatings for the F-22 in the mid-1990s. To cover up the problem, engineers applied 600 lbs worth of extra layers, stressing the airframe and compromising its stealth capabilities.
Olsen further alleges that low-quality stealth coatings have not only worsened the radar and infrared visibility of the F-22, but that they have been a factor in dangerous and expensive accidents — as when a section of coating broke off and was sucked into an F-22 engine last year, causing over $1 million in damage.
While Olsen was fired for “failure to follow instructions” in 1999, his suit goes on to say that third-party reports indicate that the Raptor’s stealth protection “has not been remedied through the present date.”
So not only is Lockheed Martin getting $354 million of tax payer dollars per F-22, but they are defective and dangerous. A Washington Post article this morning also revealed that the F-22 can only be flown an average of 1.7 hours before it gets a critical failure. Maybe it’s better that we haven’t had to use them in real combat yet.
Shouldn’t we focus on making the producers fix the fighter jets we’ve already ordered before we give this weapons juggernaut more tax payer dollars to produce faulty jets?