Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $10.9 billion contract to maintain and modernize the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor fleet.
According to the US Department of Defense, the company will be responsible for providing supplies and services for the American aircraft, including upgrades, enhancements, fixes, and performance-based logistics.
“This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of $200,000 are being obligated on the first delivery order at the time of award,” the department said in a press release.
Work on the contract will be carried out in Texas and is expected to be complete by October 2031.
About the F-22 Raptor
The US Air Force’s first fifth-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth “air supremacy” fighter aircraft that can travel up to 1,600 nautical miles (2,963 kilometers).
It is equipped with low-observable technologies that provide improved survivability and lethality against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats.
With a maximum speed of Mach 2 (2,450kph/1,522mph), the aircraft carries two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and an M61A2 cannon. It also uses on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support.
‘Nearing End of Life Span’
Earlier this year, US Air Force official Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote pointed out that the Raptor could already be four decades old by 2030 and will be nearing the end of its life span.
He said the service is planning to use the aircraft as a “bridge” until implementing the next generation air dominance program.
Hinote also explained that because of the aircraft’s age, it may no longer be the right fighter to defend allies such as Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines against the growing Chinese threat.