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Potential F-22 Raptor Export to Japan

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Congressional rept.

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The F-22A Raptor is the U.S. Air Forces most advanced manned combat aircraft. Developed principally to defeat Soviet aircraft in air-to-air combat, the F-22 exploits the latest developments in stealth technology to reduce detection by enemy radar, as well as thrust-vectoring engines for more maneuverability, and avionics that fuse and display information from sensors in a single battlefield display. Current plans call for the U.S. purchase of 183 F-22s, with the last aircraft being procured with FY2009 funds. Air Force leaders say that they require 381 F-22s, but lack the funds to purchase 198 additional aircraft. The debate over the export of F-22s has become more pointed as the end of procurement funding FY2009, and the closure of the assembly line, nears. Whether to continue production of the F-22 is an issue that will confront the 111th Congress early in its first session. The Department of Defense DoD is officially neutral on whether the F-22 should be exported, but senior leaders have suggested that they favor foreign sales of the F-22. However, since 1998, Congress has prohibited the use of appropriated funds to approve or license the sale of the F-22 to any foreign government. This provision, known as the Obey Amendment, was debated in the 109th Congress. The House Defense Appropriations Bill for FY2007 proposed to repeal the law, but export opponents in the House prevailed with the Senate in conference. Japan has expressed interest in purchasing the F-22A Raptor aircraft from the United States. Although the export of the plane is now prohibited by U.S. law, Congress has recently and may again consider repealing this ban. Arguments for the sale include potential benefits to U.S. industry, contribution to the defense of Japan and the region, and promotion of U.S. interoperability with the Japanese military. Arguments against the transfer include concerns about technology proliferation and the potential for undermining regional stability.

Subject Categories:

  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems

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