WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today praised the announcement by the Secretary of Defense certifying the multi-year purchase of up to sixty F-22 fighter aircraft over the next three years, resulting in savings of almost $411 million total and $6.85 million per-plane. Senator Inhofe played an integral role in authorizing the three-year purchase contract for the F-22 Raptors in the fiscal year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, working together with Senator Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Senator Hatch (R-Utah) to maximize savings while securing air dominance for the U.S. Air Force.
“This purchase will help to ensure that the U.S. Air Force can maintain air superiority in future conflicts that our country could face anywhere in the world,” Inhofe said. “The multi-year contract for the F-22s will not only ensure that the United States once again has the world’s most capable tactical fighter aircraft, but it will also result in millions in savings for the American taxpayer.
“Oklahomans will directly benefit from this contract, as the Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City will be the primary hub for major maintenance operations for the F-22’s engines.
“We’re realizing this dramatic payoff because of the way we’ve structured this purchase. Every American can identify with this smart way of doing business. When you buy necessary household items in larger quantities, you gain from economies of scale. The same holds true for buying aircraft.
“While saving $411 million may seem small to some, most Oklahomans understand that an amount of this size could be used to outfit the Oklahoma National Guard with the right equipment to help deal with floods, other natural disasters, and national emergencies.”
Senator Inhofe, along with Sens. Chambliss and Hatch, spearheaded the campaign to secure the multi-year contract for the F-22s in order to maximize savings to the American taxpayer, while ensuring that the U.S. Air Force will once again enjoy tactical air advantage over likely adversaries.
The three-year purchase contract was authorized in the fiscal year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, conditional upon certification by the Secretary of Defense to Congress that the contract would result in ‘substantial savings’ and that the aircraft met the requirements for a multi-year contract. Although Congress was committed to procuring sixty F-22s, opponents of the multi-year structure argued that the savings were not substantial enough to obligate future Congresses with a multi-year purchase contract.
As part of the rigorous certification process, the RAND Corporation, a federally-funded research and development corporation, conducted an independent analysis of various purchasing options, revealing $411 million savings through the multi-year contract, nearly twice the initial projection of $225 million.