Congress looks into restarting the F-22 Raptor

Congress looks into restarting the F-22 Raptor
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Congress is looking into restarting production of the F-22 fighter jet, according to a defense bill proposal released Tuesday. 

The House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee released its portion of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision to look into restarting production of the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet. 

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Production of the F-22 ended in 2009, at 187 aircraft — far less than the planned buy of 749, and an Air Combat Command requirement of 381 aircraft.

However, the subcommittee offers language that says exploring the idea of restarting production is worthy "in light of growing threats to U.S. air superiority as a result of adversaries closing the technology gap and increasing demand from allies and partners for high-performance, multi-role aircraft to meet evolving and worsening global security threats." 

In addition, there is interest within the Air Force and the Pentagon in potentially restarting production of the F-22, it said. 

The provision directs the Air Force secretary to conduct an assessment of the costs of resuming production and to provide Congress with a report no later than Jan. 1, 2017. 

The subcommittee bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to review sustainment strategies for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and provide a report to Congress by April 1. 

The bill also supports the National Commission on the Future of the Army's recommendations to allow the National Guard to keep four Apache attack helicopter battalions, versus the Army's plan to transfer all of the helicopters to the active side in exchange for unarmed Blackhawk utility helicopters. 

It also would provide additional funding for UH-60 Blackhawks, LUH-72 Lakotas and AH-64E Apaches, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters , F/A-18s, critical munitions; address modernization shortfalls in National Guard and Reserve component equipment; and support the realignment in the European Reassurance Initiative for modernized and upgraded version of the Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. 

The subpanel is headed by Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).