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"Why The U.S. Can't Just Start Building F-22s Again" Topic

13 Posts

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911 hits since 30 Jun 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2021 9:15 p.m. PST

"The U.S Air Force has two air superiority fighters in their stable in the F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle, but when looking to bolster the fleet with purchases of a new (old) jet for the job, it was the Eagle, not the famed Raptor, to get a second lease on life.

That really begs the question: if America can buy new F-15s, a design that's nearly 50 years old, why isn't it looking to build new F-22s instead?

By most accounting, the F-22 Raptor remains the most capable air superiority fighter on the planet, with its competition in China's J-20B beginning to shape up and Russia's Su-57 still lagging a bit behind…"

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Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 7:07 a.m. PST

It does not "beg" the question, it "raises" it. This is a pet peeve about modern usage.

Fitzovich Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 7:35 a.m. PST

I would like to see the B-36 make a come back.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 10:12 a.m. PST

I'm with Jeff in this. Sadly though, "begging the question" is completely misunderstood today. 99% of the people who use it do so improperly.
Soon, as Buddy Holly and Linda Ronstadt sing, "It doesn't really matter anymore." But some of us will care.

The economics of weapons procurement are corrupt and contradictory to national interests. Scrapping dedicated tooling is incomprehensible. Except of course now the manufacturers can charge extra to tool all over again. Madness.

machinehead Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 10:52 a.m. PST

I disagree, fixturing especially for large parts takes up a lot of floor space. Why would a manufacturer keep something that is no longer being used on the off chance that maybe one day it will be needed again? Where I used to work we had some really big fixtures – for instance there is a cast iron one that is almost 17 feet in dia., 6 feet tall, 3 to 4 inches thick and weighed 48,000 pounds. When the job for that one ends it will most likely be scrapped or at the very least put outside where it will rust which will render it useless anyway.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 11:25 a.m. PST

And what I am saying is that keeping that very tooling should be part of the original contract.
They knew they were developing a damn good plane. So why scrap tooling when the original contract is filled? Why reinvent the wheel? The Government throws enough money around as it is. Why not pay the contractor to hold on to the fixtures and tooling. I'm sure a mutually agreeable price can be worked out. grin

machinehead Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 11:47 a.m. PST

Floor space in a machine shop is worth its weight in gold. The money is in the machining not in storage. It's not a warehouse. You need the space not only for the fixturing but for the work in process and room to flip said work over. If we had kept all the fixtures from over the years I worked there I doubt there would be room to even walk down the bay. The price to store tooling would be astronomical.

jfleisher01 Jul 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

So have the military store the tooling in case it's needed. I'm sure they have a warehouse or two available…

Thresher0101 Jul 2021 8:57 p.m. PST

Yea, the tooling should have been kept and stored.

A lot of warehouses were renting space for $1.00 USD a square foot, not too long ago, in expensive California. Perhaps even less in hard-hit, depressed areas now.

Perhaps it's time to move forward with the F-23, at least until the 6th Gen. jets can be produced.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2021 9:31 p.m. PST

Again, I'm saying that the procurement process is corrupt as Hell. The politicians are delighted to pay for tooling and fixtures as many times as they can, as long as it's done in their district or state, AND (most importantly) results in campaign contributions.
It's unconscionable that such a vital fighter as the F-22 is limited in production because the tooling has been scrapped. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Look. I worked in manufacturing for decades.
And I became acquainted with the Toyota Rapid Die Change method. Look it up.

Contracts SHOULD HAVE required holding into dies, stamping, tooling, fixtures, etc, and paid a pretty price for it.
There is no excuse for not being able to keep a world class fighter in production. Of course it can be improved!

Random Die Roll Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2021 7:39 a.m. PST

F-22 Raptor ended production around 2011. The bulk of the fixturing was owned by the Government due to ITAR restrictions and returned within a few years of the end of the project. What little fixturing remains is at aftermarket suppliers of the wear and tear items that need replaced.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2021 1:27 p.m. PST

If something is vital to the national defense then we should not only keep the tooling but keep the line open and make a few every year. Ramping up production is not limited to the tools, it is more limited by the loss of institutional memory of the people who build the items. That's why we keep the Abrams factory line open. It takes a long time to train people to build complex things well.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Zephyr102 Jul 2021 9:37 p.m. PST

How many F-15's are (still being?) sold in foreign markets? I'd see that as a reason to keep the manufacturing equipment around, even if not used at full capacity…

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