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F-22: Is the Air Force Spending Itself into Unilateral Disarmanent?

August 2, 2001 

 

The ballooning cost of the F-22 fighter jet and other high-tech weapons is resulting in the military's unilateral disarmament, according to a report to be released today.

"As long as we keep investing in weapon systems that are highly complex and rely on technologies that are not fully proven, we will find ourselves spending more and more on fewer and fewer weapons that are of questionable relevance," according to retired Air Force Colonel Everest Riccioni, the report's author and a renowned fighter aircraft designer.

The report will be released by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) at a hearing on F-22 Cost Controls being held on Thursday in the House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations. The hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

"The F-22 is a continuation of the flawed weapons-buying system that allows overpriced, under-tested weapons to dominate our military policy," said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). "As long as the Pentagon continues this trend, defense contractors will benefit at the expense of the military and taxpayers."

The report comes at a time when the Pentagon has refused to resolve whether the F-22 program is $2 billion or $9 billion over Congressionally-mandated cost caps. The $7 billion difference between the Department of Defense Office of the Secretary's figure and the Air Force's estimates could result in the production of 85 fewer fighter aircraft.

The F-22 provides a "classic example" of the failures of our acquisition system. As the price tag for the F-22 has risen, the number of aircraft the U.S. can afford has declined. At the original price at $50 million per F-22, the Air Force intended to purchase 800 aircraft. Now the program is slated to purchase 333 aircraft at a price of $192 million per fighter, making it the most expensive fighter aircraft ever.
 


Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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