Procurement: F-22 Secrets Too Precious to Sell

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February18, 2007: Despite feelers from Japan and Australia, the U.S. has officially stated that the F-22 will not be available for export. This is unusual, especially in light of the high cost of the F-22 (over $200 million each, without taking into account billions spent on R&D), and the need to build as many as possible to spread out the R&D expense. The real issue here is keeping technology secrets secret. For example, there have already been a number of disagreements with buyers of the F-35 (a light bomber, or "attack aircraft" using electronic and stealth technologies similar to those in the F-22) over access to technology details. Several F-35 buyers want to modify their aircraft, and need access to source code and manufacturing processes in order to do that. This access has been provided in the past, and there has been some "leakage" of secrets to Russia and China. Apparently the United States considers the F-22 technologies so important that they don't want to take any chances with leaks. Japan and Australia are two of Americas most trusted allies when it comes to sharing secrets, so the F-22 decision indicates the belief that the F-22 is considered a decisive weapon. Or at least some of the F-22 technologies are considered extremely important.

 


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