July 18, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The U.S. House of Representatives repealed a ban on F-22 Raptor sales to foreign air forces in a voice vote on July 1.
View on the production line of the F-22 Raptor. [LMTAS
However, the repeal still needs to pass through conference with the Senate and ultimately be approved in the FY-07 Defense Bill. Repeal of the ban does not mean anything has been approved or requested for foreign military sales of the F-22.
The vote, following an eleven minute debate, repeals a nine year prohibition on foreign sales of the world's most advanced operational fighter jet.
The cost of the F-22 has risen over the years to a flyaway cost of more than $130 million per jet (not including research and development) due to dwindling orders from the only customer - the United States Air Force.
The USAF had originally planned to order 750 F-22s to face the Soviet Union but that number slipped to 350 airframes, and then down again to the current planned buy of only 183 Raptors.
Several different nations including Australia, Japan, Great Britain, and Israel
have expressed interest in purchasing F-22s and Lockheed is reportedly interested in selling to those countries if the legalities can be resolved. No decision has yet been made as to which systems, if any, need to be modified or removed from export F-22 aircraft.