F-35 Means More Jobs Compared to F-22


Categorie: Air, David Axe, Politics |



Daniel Strauss at Campus Progress interviewed me for his after-action review of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ F-22 cancellation. After concluding that support for the Lockheed-made F-22 Raptor fighter was mostly motivated by jobs and , Strauss quoted me to underscore his point that shifting to Lockheed’s cheaper F-35 from the F-22 won’t mean lost employment:

Another reason military budget hawks won on the F-22 is because it can be replaced by the F-35, a similar, single engine aircraft that’s more up-to-date and cheaper, but slower and able to carry a wider array of weapons. This means that the jobs for the F-22 can be replaced by the development of the F-35 as well. David Axe, a defense journalist who writes for Wired‘s Danger Room blog, says that in addition to the fact that the F-35 is more fitting for what the U.S. military needs today, those same manufacturers that helped build the F-22s can switch over to building the F-35. “Here’s the thing with aerospace workers: they don’t just build one airplane,” Axe explains. “It’s like a car factory — they build the same trucks in the one factory but they build different models of the same truck.”

Okay, so that sounds a little confusing. Allow me to clarify. There are broad similarities between building an F-22 and an F-35 — and between building fighters and other types of combat planes, as well. Ending the F-22 does not mean firing aerospace workers, as the ramp-up in F-35 production will more than compensate. Today the F-22 sustains 25,000 “direct” jobs, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In its final year, 2011, the Raptor will employ 13,000. This year, the F-35 provides 38,000 direct jobs. In 2011, that number will climb to 82,000. The transition from F-22 to F-35 will actually mean an extra 32,000 jobs two years from now.

If more F-22s meant fewer F-35s — as Gates seemed to believe it did, given fiscal constraints — then buying more F-22s probably would have cost us jobs.

(Photo: Air Force)

Offiziere.ch: Imagining the Air Force After Next
“Eve” Mother-Ship Could Form Basis of Future Warplane
Flying with Iraq’s King Air Spy Planes
Surveillance Orbits for From-Scratch Air Forces
Meet the “New” U.S. Air Force
Air Force Copies Marines’ “Bolt-On” Gunship Plan
Offiziere.ch: the Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force
Congressional Budget Office’s Plans to Save the Air Force
Air Force Turns a Corner
The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself
Analysts: Buy Fighters, or Die


2 Responses to “F-35 Means More Jobs Compared to F-22”

  1. Steve M. says:

    A point worth mentioning: the HASC’s initial proposal called for redirecting money from other programs to pay for the new F-22s, so the job losses caused by actually buying the planes would have been very real and immediate.

  2. 中山秀征 司会 …


Leave a Reply