Only one day after President Barack Obama signed a defense bill authorizing the shutdown of the F-22 production line, the US Air Force announced signing a contract to buy the last four F-22s.
Lockheed Martin Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas was awarded a $474,200,000 contract which will provide for the issuance of full production of four F-22 Lot 10 air vehicles, alternate mission equipment, production engineering support and work in process through Aug. 11, 2009 for 16 shipsets of raw material aircraft fuselage titanium. 478 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-09-C-2900,P00007).The notice shows all hope for the F-22's future within the USAF apparently died on August 11, when Lockheed's supply chain stopped work on titanium to build 16 more stealth fighters. Let the record show that was three weeks after Senate authorizers voted to kill the F-22, but nearly one month before Senate appropriators followed suit.
Although I called it a 'parting gift' in the headline, yes, I do realize more money is coming. Lockheed now has to negotiate a program termination fee. The USAF also plans to spend some $8 billion to upgrade all 186 F-22s, including the last four purchased above. The only question left is whether the last F-22 contract will be paid in yen.