DEVELOPMENT of a two-seat variant of the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 is to be dropped to save money.

The US Air Force is to cancel two tandem-seaters planned for the development programme, leaving nine single-seat aircraft, although Lockheed Martin says that it has yet to receive a stop-work order.

The USAF also plans to remove 42 tandem-seaters from the planned 442-aircraft production run, but the number of single-seaters will be increased.

The two-seat F-22 retains the full combat capability of the single-seater, but the second cockpit replaces a fuel tank, reducing range. Dropping the two-seater will cut development costs by $150 million and production costs by $350 million. The USAF is also pushing, to have funding for four planned pre-production verification (PPV) F-22s, moved from the production phase to the development effort.

Source: Flight International