Last F-22 Raptor Heads Off Assembly Line

H. Scott English

In Marietta Georgia, at the Lockheed-Martin Plant, the final F-22 Raptor came off the assembly line ending in a ceremony to bid farewell to the fixed wing fighter jet. The Lockheed Martin Plant, which is located at Dobbins Air Reserve Base was the main production facility for the Raptor. The F-22 Raptor was scrapped last year in favor of the less costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter amid concerns in congress that the $153 million per plane cost was too high and the plane was just a lot more high-tech than was required for modern warfare .

The F-22 was highly sought after by foreign governments, but in the end, Congress banned its sale for fear of releasing such sensitive technology. While supporters said such technology made the F-22 a tremendous asset in the war on terror, critics felt it was no longer needed after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The F-22 has not seen combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Some Congressional leader were hesitant to abandon the F-22 program because i t created jobs. 2,000 people were employed by the defense giant specifically to work on the F-22 production line, but Lockheed-Martin Spokespeople said that those employees had nothing to fear as production needs were growing on other projects. More than, 300 employees are building the center wing assembly for the F-35 among many other highly skilled production lines. Company officials say that number could increase to 1,000 as F-35 production gets into full swing.

Should the government have scrapped the F-22 Raptor?