Lockheed Pitching F-22/F-35 Hybrid to U.S. Air Forceby Marcus Weisberger, Defense One
Lockheed Martin is quietly pitching the U.S. Air Force a new variant of the F-22 Raptor, equipped with the F-35’s more modern mission avionics and some structural changes, Defense One has learned.
It is one of several options being shopped to the U.S. military and allies as Lockheed explores how it might upgrade its combat jets to counter Russian and Chinese threats anticipated by military officials in the coming decade, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.
“You’re building a hybrid aircraft,” David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who is now dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “It’s not an F-22. It’s not an F-35. It’s a combination thereof. That can be done much, much more rapidly than introducing a new design.”
The new variant — similar to one Lockheed is pitching to Japan— would incorporate the F-35’s more modern mission system and “other advancements in the stealth coatings and things of that nature,” according to a person familiar with the proposal.