November 22, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin has won a contract worth $1 billion to build 23 more F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft plus one replacement test aircraft, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
A1C Richard Alexander marshals in Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver as he delivers the second permanent F/A-22 Raptor at Langley AFB.
The order, for the sixth production batch of the radar-evading fighters, is to be wrapped up by February 2010, the Pentagon said in its daily contract summary.
A total of 131 Raptors are now under contract, with 83 already delivered to the Air Force, said Joseph Quimby, Lockheed's spokesman for the F-22 program.
The F-22, built by Lockheed in partnership with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, has state-of-the art radar and engines, and has proved very effective in training exercises. All off this comes at a cost with a pricetag of about $150 million for each new F-22. Add in the large development cost, and per-aircraft cost (assuming about 300 are built), and the per plane cost gets as high as $400 million.
The stealthy F-22 is believed to be the most capable fighter in use today. It is also replacing the F-117 as a light stealth bomber. The F-117 Nighthawk is scheduled to come out of service in 2008.